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Full text of "Life of the Right Reverend Joseph P. Machebeuf, D.D., pioneer priest of Ohio, pioneer priest of New Mexico, pioneer priest of Colorado, vicar apostolic of Colorado and Utah, and first bishop of Denver"

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Rr. Rkv. Joseph V. Machkbeuf, D. D. 




Josepk P. Maclieteuf , D. D 

Pioneer Priest oi Otio. 

Pioneer Priest oi New Mexico, Pioneer Priest oi Colorado. 

Vicar Apostolic oi Colorado and Utah, 





'Menuntote Praepositomm Vestrontm, Imitamtm Ftdem. 



• • * '' 

« «»«• • • •»« 

Copyright, 1908, by W. J. Howlett. 
All Rights Reserved. 



From Biskop Matz of Denver 

Denver, Coio., April 24, 1908. 
Kev. W. J. Hewlett, 

Pueblo, Colo. 
My dear Father and Friend : 

1 have just finished the reading of your "Life of 
Bishop Machebeuf." It is scarcely necessary for 
nie to say that 1 am pleased beyond expression. You 
have rescued from oblivion the life, virtues and 
heroism of the saintly Bishop Machebeuf — the Apos- 
tle of Colorado. Only for you one of the most beau- 
tiful characters in the Church of America would 
have passed into forgetfulness. The historian of 
the CTiurch of the United States of North America 
will owe you an immense debt of gratitude for hold- 
ing up to the admiration of future generations the 
great virtues and heroic sacrifices of our saintly 
predecessor, who now, thanks to your labor of love, 
will take his proper place among the truly great men 
whom the Church on this American Continent de- 
lights to honor. 

Perhai)s the best proof 1 can give you of my 
appreciation of your great work is the fact that I 
arose from the perusal of your beautiful book, my 
heart filled with enthusiasm for your hero, over- 
Howing with admiration for his sanctity and zeal, 
and with a determination to emulate his great vir- 
tues as far as may be within my power. 

T did not think that any one could have raised my 


esteem and veneration for the saintly Bishop Mache- 
beuf, but you have succeeded in doing this by the 
manner in which you have focused all the noble and 
heroic traits of my predecessor into a grand charac- 
ter-portrait which, for exquisite coloring, delicate 
outlines, and beautiful language, could hardly be 
surpassed. Your ^'Life of Bishop Machebeuf" will 
stand out beside your ''Historical Tribute to St. 
Thomas' Seminary" as another gem with which you 
have enriched the crown of the Church in the United 


Affectionately yours in Christo, 

+ N. C. MATZ, 
Bishop of Denver. 


To the Priests of Colorado, Who Inherit the Re- 
sults of the Labors of Bishop Machebeuf, that They 
May Know, Appreciate and Imitate the Virtues and 
Works of Their Apostle, This Recital of His Life, 
Written as a Tribute of Gratitude, is Aifectionately 

J)edicated By 

Their Brotiiek in Christ. 



A history of the life of Bishop Machebeuf needs 
no preface or apolog>'. My own presumption in un- 
dertaking such a history may require an explana- 
tion, and that 1 am willing to give. 

Time is passing on rapid wings and the memory 
of Bishop Machebeuf is fading. A new generation 
is growing up among both the clerg>- and the lait>-, 
nnd soon all those who knew him will be gone. Our 
nai-ly history will then be but a tradition, and tradi- 
tions gradually fade and become unreliable. No 
matter how poorly written the histor>' of our early 
missionaries may be it is full of interest, and makes 
later history more complete. These considerations 
emiwidened me, especially as no other hand had un- 
dertaken the work. 

Also, a personal acquaintance with Bishop 
Machebeuf during tlie great jK)rtioii of the time he 
labored in Colorado, during whicli time I re<*eived 
many favors from him, and the possession of much 
of his private correspondence, hickih preser\^ed by 
his brother and sister and given to me for this pur- 
pose, together with many factvS of his family histon' 
and of his own earlier years, urge<l we to the task 
under penalty of ingratitude, [f auotliei- had under- 
taken the labor I would willingly have given him my 
assistance, and T desire to tliank those who helped 
me in the i>resent recital, for. without their help, the 


work would be far more imperfect than it is. None 
will feel slighted if I name but one, the venerable 
Rev. Gabriel Ussel of Walsenburg, who labored by 
his side in New Mexico and Colorado for thirty-three 
years, and who knew him perhaps better than any 
other man living to-day. 

I have used some discretion in the arrangement 
and publication of Bishop Machebeuf's letters, as 
there were many repetitions in them which might 
become monotonous, and many things of no interest 
to the public, besides a multitude of little incidents 
of ordinary life which we would rather see left to be 
understood than written out to cumber the narrative. 
The essential, however, is all here, and in his own 
words, turned from his beautiful French into my 
plain, simple English. I have tried to preserve the 
sprightliness and familiarity, as well as the dignity 
of his correspondence, and the affection which shows 
throughout the whole of it. 

The spiritual side of his character requires one 
a& spiritual as himself to depict, but his own letters 
show the motive of his life. His soul's depths are 
sounded in his trials, and in the trials of others 
whom he must console. We may note this fact when, 
prostrated himself by the grief which the death of 
his loved ones brought upon him, we see him rise 
above his own feelings to console those upon whom 
the same great sorrow had fallen. At the death of 
his father, of his foster-mother, of his loved nephew, 
and of the wife of his brother, he pointed out to 
others their only source of consolation from whence 


he derived his own strength. The thought that Gk)d 
arranges all things for the best gave him his firm 
reliance upon Providence, and a resignation that 
could always say: ''Afay His holy will be done." 

In preserving the memory of Bishop Maehe- 
beuf, and fixing in definite mold the records of the 
beginnings of the Church in the new lands where his 
lot was ever cast, I feel that I have done some ser- 
vice, and, as imperfectly done as my share of the 
work may be, I am better pleased to have done it 
thus than to have raised a cathedral to his memory. 
The kind reception given to a previous volume leads 
me to hope that this also will meet with some favor 
from the reading public, and more especially from 
that maturer part of it, which takes an interest in 
recalling the deeds of the pioneers of religion and 
civilization. W. J. HOWLETT. 

Pueblo, Colo., St. Joseph's Day, 1908. 



Early Settlers.— Early Priests. — French Missionaries. — Au- 
verjrtie iind I.iltle Auvercriie.- The Machebeufs. — Bii lii 
of Our Subject.— Early Education.— Loss of His Mother. 
In College. — Thousrhts of tlu- Army.— Enters the Semi- 
nary. — Ordination ^ ' 


First Appointment. — Devotion to the Blessed Virsariu. — Month 
of May. — Consoling Results of the Exercises.— Desire foi- 
a Missionary Life. — Hears Father Odin and Bishop 
Flaget. — Resolves to lio to America. — Obstacles. — Secret 
Departnic " 


Arrival at Paris. — News of the Flight. - Father Mache- 
beufs Letter. — Letter of Bishop Purcell.— Forgiveness. 
Journeys. — The Sylvie de Grasse.— The Departure. 
Members of the Party.— Joy in Exile. — The Hundred- 
fold Reward ' -i"^ 


Sails from Havre.— Incidents of the Voyage. — Arrives at 
New York. — Bishop Dubois. — On to Cincinnati.— Ap- 
pointed to Tiffin. — Life on the Missions. — Hardships 
and Consolations. — ExplauMlory •''•' 


Ohio Apostles. -The Work of One Week. -Fii-st Rnglish 
Sermon. — Lost in the Woods. — A Drive on the Ice. — A 
Good Hotelkeeper.--A Convert. — A Frisky Horse. — Re- 
ported Dead.- A Primitive Court. — The Condemned 
Murderer. — A Prayer Answered <" 


Goes to Lower Sandusky.— The Place. — The People. -A Pa- 
triarch. — To Cincinnati in a Bugg\'. — Mardi (rras. — Meets 


the Future Bishop Rappe. — Castles in Spain and Churches 
in Ohio.— Railroads.— High Bridge. — Good Will of the 
People.— Prepares to Build.— Removes to Sandusky City. 
Household Arrangements.— Mixed Religions.— Troubles 
at Norwalk. — Cooks.— Begs and Borrows. — The Lord Will 
Provide.— Piety 83 


Visit of Bishop Purcell. — Churches Begun. — Manual Labor 
by Father Machebeuf and Bishop Purcell.— Domestic 
Concerns. — Salary. — Monej^ Scarce. — Laborers Paid in 
Produce. — Father Rappe. — Times Grow Harder. — Bank 
Failures. — Low Market Prices. — Church Grows in the 
Midst of Poverty.— Patrons of His Churches.— Goes to 
Canada to Collect.— Shipwreck.— Opening of His 
Churches.- Blessed are tlie Poor 99 


Life's Sacred Moments. — News of His Father's Illness. 
Plans to Return to France.— Disappointment.— A Sad 
Winter.— Death of His Father. — His Grief. — Prepares to 
Go to Europe. — Arrival Home 116 


Going to Rome. — Tyjjes of Travelers. — Visits Rome's Won- 
ders.— Audience With Pope Gregoi-y XVI. — At Loretto, 
Venice, Milan, Turin. — The Ursulines of Beaulieu. — Ap- 
peals to the Royal Family for Aid.— Pi-epares to Return. 
Corpus Christi on Board Ship.— New York to Cincinnati. 
Installs the Ursulines at Fayetteville.— Home Again. 
Renewed Activity 124 


Cold Comfort.— Churches Blessed.— Excess of Good Will. 
Christmas Celebration.— New Diocese of Cleveland. 
Faith in Europe and America. — Appeal for Priests.— New 
Buildings. — Fears for France. — The Famine in Ireland. 
P^mbarrassments. — Visit of Father De Smet.— Almost an 
Indian Missionary.— Better Pt-ngponfg — Fnther Tinmy 
Ma.de_^ishop. — Father Machebeuf His Vicar General. 
Leaves Sandusky. — A River Steamer.— ''Into the Keep- 
ing of Providence. " 140 



Goes to San Antonio. — Visits the Fi-ontier Forts. — Incidents 
on the Way lo El I'aso. — Government Favors. — Up the 
Rio (irande. — Local Receptions on the Way. — Plenty of 
Faith but Few Works.— Apathy of the Clergy.— Tri- 
umphal Entry Into Santa Fe 157 


Extent of the Vicariate.— Mixed Races. — Christian and Pa- 
gan Indians. — Santa Fe. — Some Events in Its History'. 
The Palace.-The Churches.-The Bell.— The Blunder of 
a Drunken Judge. — How He Was Made to Rectify It. 
Bishop Lamy Goes to Durango. —Father Maehebeuf as 
Administrator. — Missionary Work. — Religious Ignorance 
and Its Consequences. — Need of Christian Schools. 
Building Bought.— The Sistei-s of Loretto. — Academy of 
Our Lady of Light Hid 


Coming of the Sisters of Loretto. — Father Maehebeuf Goes 
to Albuquerque. — Opposition of the Former Padre. 
Firmness of Father Maehebeuf. — Erection of the Diocese 
of Santa Fe. — The Novenas. — Obtains Possession of the 
Parish House. — Installs the New Pastors. — Goes to Kan- 
sas City to Meet the Sisters. — Surrounded by Indians. 
Meeting Hostile Indians.— A Certificate of Character. . . .IHM 


Building Material. — Repairing the Churches. — New Organ. 
Father Maehebeuf Starts for France. — Incidents of 
Travel. — In France. — New Recruits. — Double Celebration 
at Sea. — Arrival at New York. — Interesting Relation by 
Father Ussel. — Returns to Albuquerque. — Grand Wel- 
come.— Begins to Preach in English. — Converts. — Estab- 
lishes Catechism (^lasses. — Goes Again to the States. 
Tricks the Indians. — Return Party. — Mademoiselle Lamy 
and Companion. — Leaves Albuquerque for Santa F^. 
Efforts to Retain Him in Albuquerque. — Reception at 
Satila I'e l^O-i 



\ Thijeefold Work.^Father Martine z. — Father T alaHrid. 
^ chism at Tao s.— Kit Carson, Ceran St. Vrain and 
Charles Beaubien.— E ^ommu nication of Fathei's Mar- 
tinez and Lucero. — Fathers MlU'ljebyuf and -Ussel O'O on 
a^TTTssion. — Rio Colorado. — Costilla. — Conejos.— Don 
Jesus Velasquez. — Lafayette Head. — Adios and Gifts. 
Mutual Pleasures. — Fort Massachusetts. — Culebra. 
Father Avel. — His Sad Death. — Unjust Suspicions 
Against Father Munneeoni. — His Chai-acter Cleared. 
The Mails. — More Territory and More Work 227 


International Difficulties. — The Gadsden Treaty. — New Ter- 
ritory Added to the Diocese of Santa Fe.— Father Mach- 
ebeuf Goes to Mexico. — Incidents of His Trip. — Rumors 
of a NeAv Vicariate. — Visits Tucson. — Indian Tribes. 
San Xavier del Bac — Efforts to Obtain New Missionaries. 
Last Trip to Az-izona. — Recall. — Ruxton on New Mexico 
and Its Inhabitants 244 


Critics and Ci-iticisms.- Honor to the Pioneer.— Apologetic. 
Early Explorers. — Coronado, Pike, Pui'sley, Long, James, 
Fremont, Sage, Gilpin, Parkman, Ruxton. — Hunters and 
Trappers. — Discovery of Gold. — Cherokee Indians. — Rus- 
sell and Party. — First Town, Auraria. — Pike's Peak. 
Rush of Goldseekers. — Adventurers. — Territory Organ- 
ized. — Religion. — Scenei^v'.- Climate.— Weather. — Topog- 
raphy.— Roads.— Towns.— Bishop Miege in Denver. — Dis- 
trict Annexed to Diocese of Santa Fe 267 


News in New Mexico. —Appointment for Pike's Peak. — Goes 
to Denver City with Father Raverdy. — Conditions at 
Denver. — Central City. — Mines and Mining Camps. — In- 
stability of Population. — Mission Trips. — Movable Home 
and Traveling Chapel. — Many Permanent Churches Im- 
possible.— First Mission Chapel at Central City. — His 
Eighth Trip. — Falls Sick. — P^ather Ussel a Messenger 
from Bishop Lamy. — Goes to New Mexico.— Charity of 
the Mexicans.— War in New Mexico 286 



Completes the Church at Denver. — Location of the ('hurch. 
Farming in Colorado. — The Desert CoiKiuercd. -Secures 
Lands.— Locations for New ('hurches. — The Cemetery. 
Revenue and Cost of Living?. — Serious Accident Lames 
Him foi- Life. — Boys' School. — St. Mary's Academy, 
i'roposed C'ollege.— Father Cssel's Mission to the Bene- 
dictines. — Fire in Denver. — P^'lood. — Indian Massacres. 
Fright in Denver. — Father Machebeuf's Courage. — Usual 
Mission Trips. — Battle of Sand Creek.— Desperadoes. 
Later Missions ;^04 


Colorado and L'tah Settlements. — Momion Policy. — V. S. 
Troops. — Visit of Father Raverdy to Utah.— A Box of 
Peaches. — Bells.— Father Machebeuf Sick.— "Trompe- 
la-Mort."— Father Raverdy Goes to Central City. — Fath- 
er Faure Comes to Denver. — Recreations at the Ranch. 
The Choir. — New (^hurch at Golden City. — Itinerai-y of 
Mission Trip. — Progress of the Church. — Father Mache- 
beuf's Voluntan' Poverty. — American Influences Pre- 
dominate. —Steps for a Vicariate. — Father Machebuef's 
iriimiiity Alarmed :V20 


P'irst Mission in Denver.— Father DeBlieck.— Official Notice 
of Appointment as Bishop. — Fitness for the Work. — A 
Begging Tour. — Consecration. — Return to Denver. — Re- 
ceptions.— Responsibilities and Resources. — Episcopal 
Missionary Trips. — To Central City. — To Conejos. — To 
Salt Lake City.-To Trinidad XiT 


Priests and Their Locations. — P^ire at St. Mary's Academy. 
Bishop Starts for Europe. — First Students. — Father Bou- 
chet of Louisville.— Bishop Goes to Rome. — Visits Ireland. 
Business and Sociability. — First Priests Ordained. — Re- 
turns with New Priests. — Ordains Future Bishop of Santa 
Fe Trail.— New House. -Church Enlarged. — Various 
Crosses and Disappointments. — French Sympathies. 
Utah Transferred.- Conditions at the Close of 1S71 . . . .M.");{ 



Growth of Denver. — Father Raverdy Vicar General.— Pro- 
posed Jesuit College. — St. Joseph's Hospital.— Coming: 
of the Jesuits. — Priests in Pueblo, South Park, Boulder 
and Colorado Springs. — Father Raverdy Goes to Europe. 
Father Bourion's Prize Drav^ing. — Great Fire at Central. 
General View. — Consecration to the Sacred Heart.— Bad 
Times.— Loans.— Sale of Property.— Sisters at Pueblo. 
Golden Jubilee of Archbishop Purcell.— Conference of 
St. Vincent of Paul.— Lake City. — Carriage Upsets. 
Smallpox Rages. — New Church at Boulder.— Confidence 
in God. — Trip to St. Louis.— To Santa Fe. — To Cincin- 
nati. — Sisters at Conejos 370 


Rise of Leadville. — Father Robinson. — Church and Hospital. 
St. Elizabeth's at Denver. — Sacred Heart Church.— Bish- 
op Machebeuf Goes to Rome. — Settling Duffieulties. 
New Residence. — St. Patrick's Church. — St. Joseph's. 
St. Ann's.— New Church and Hospital in Pueblo.— Aspen 
Mission.— Orphan Asylum. — Good Shepherd Refuge. 
Sistei-s of Mercy.— French Bonds. — Coloi'ado Catholic 
Loan and Trust Association. — Jesuit College.— Goes to the 
Council of Baltimore. — Consecration of Bishop Bourgade. 
Golden Jubilee.— Franciscans. — Love for Mexieansi 
Opinion of Father Matz. — The Mexicans 386 


A Coadjutor.— Consecration of Bishop Matz.— Continued 
Work. Death of Archbishop Lamy.— New Religious Or- 
ders of Men and Women. — At Washington. — Accidents. 
Sudden Waning of Vitality.— Death.— Surprise and Re- 
gret of Everyone. — The Funeral.— Touching Incident. 
Death of Father Raverdy 4()3 


Estimate of Bishop Machebeuf. — First Impressions.— Activ- 
ity.— Earnestness. — Simplicity.— Learning. — No Politi- 
cian.— Social Qualities. — Financial Operations.— Bishop 
Machebeuf as a Priest.— As a Bishop.— His Work. 

Life of Bishop Machebeuf 


Eai'ly Settlers.— Early Priests.— French Missionaries.— 
Auverii'ne and Little Auveriine. — The Machebeufs. — Birth of 
Our Subject. — Early Education. — Loss of His Mother. — In 
Collesre. — Thoughts of the Army. — Enters the Seminaiy. — Or- 

The priest of the Catholic Church is the product 
of years of thought and laborious preparation. In 
early youth the signs of a vocation begin to manifest 
themselves, and uix)n them, as upon an essential 
foundation, the first elements of an ecclesiastical 
training are laid, and the religious character built up 
with the one end in view, that of a life to be devoted 
to the service of Grod in His Church. Religion, or- 
dinarily, is of slow growth, and, in modem times, 
when the struggle for existence among some, and the 
stiniggle for wealth and power among others, has be- 
come so absorbing, the development of religion to 
that state in which priests are plentifully produced 
is proportionally slower. If the Catholic 3"oung 
man could go from the sho]), the work-bench, or the 
plow to the pulpit and the altar, as the Protestant 
often goes into his ministry, no country need at any 
time feel the lack of priests to supply the religious 
necessities of the Catliolic peo])le. In the settling 
up of the American Continent, Catholics did their 
proportionate share, and, like so many others, they 


went into tlie wilderness to find the peace and hap- 
piness of a home which heretofore had never been 
their real possession. Their shelter was simple and 
lowly, but it was a home, and in it was born and 
fostered that spirit of independence and strong per- 
sonal manhood which specially marked tlieir chil- 
dren. They brought with them their religion as 
their dearest treasure, and if it had not been such, 
they m.ight have had, in more prosperous lands, an 
equal share with others in the smiles and favors of 
the world. 

It was an easier matter, however, to bring their 
religion than their priests, and without priests to 
keep religion before the people, and to familiarize 
the young with its requirements, religion itself must 
languish and eventually disappear. 

The causes which sent so many to seek homes in 
new and uncultivated lands were the very causes 
which worked to prevent their priests from accom- 
panying them. The poverty which forced them from 
the land of their birth had reduced the number of 
priests at home, until few or none could be spared 
for the far-off work. The same poverty, and, for a 
time, greater privation, were to be their por- 
tion, and, great as may have been their faith, 
their respect for the anointed of the Lordi made them 
unwilling to condemn a disciple, even of Him Who 
had not where to lay His head, to suffer want with 
them. Hence, they went forth alone, trusting in God 
and casting their care upon the Lord. 


The one more favored country, ricli in faith and 
oiDportunities, which could come to their assistance 
in their exile, was France, and she responded nobly 
to the call. To France the Catholic Church in the 
United States owes a debt of lasting gratitude for 
the many zealous missionaries who devoted their 
lives and fortunes to the preservation and spread of 
the faith among the early settlers in this portion of 
the New World. 

When the tide of emigration began to go west 
from the States bordering on the Atlantic, it was 
speedily followed by the missionaries, and most of 
these pioneer priests were Frenchmen, and as ci\nl- 
ization advanced its outposts until it crossed the Con- 
tinent the French missionary was at the front. From 
these, also, were chosen most of those early bishops, 
whose dioceses were vast missionary districts ser^^ed 
by priests in great part of their own nationality. 
The missionary to the Indians was French, and his 
rare faculty of being able to adapt himself to all 
sorts of primitive conditions made him an excellent 
pioneer. The early bishops realized this, and the 
early history of the Church in America records num- 
berless instances of bishops appealing to France for 
priests to labor in their dioceses. Nearly every lo- 
cality which has a religious history has also a relig- 
ious hero to commemorate, and in nearly every case 
that hero is a Frenchman. 

The missionary^ spirit was general throughout 
France, but it found its intensity in the Province of 
Auvergne. Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati, and 


Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, himself an Auvergnat, 
recognized this, and materially increased the num- 
ber of their priests by seeking volunteers in 
Auvergiie. Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe did the same 
later, and when he became an archbishop his Prov- 
ince was known in France as ' ' Little Auvergne, ' ' for 
its metropolitan, its two suffragan bishops and three- 
fourths of its priests were natives of Auvergne. 

The Machebeuf family was of the class of small 
landed proprietors, and lived at Volvic in the heart 
of Auvergne, six kilometers from Riom and about 
double that number from Clermont, the capital of 
the province. In the troublous times preceding the 
great French Revolution, Projectus Machebeuf, the 
grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a stu- 
dent in the seminar}^ but the force of events 
rendered his plans of a future career impossible of 
realization. He submitted to the inevitable, and 
gave up the desires which he could not accomplish, 
but God accordedl him the happiness of seeing them 
realized in his grandson. 

Projectus Machebeuf married and became the 
father of four sons and three daughters. One of the 
daughters became a Sister of Charity of the Order 
of St. Vincent of Paul, and died at Paris while Su- 
perior of one of the large hospitals of that city. The 
oldest child of Projectus Machebeuf was named 
Michael Anthony, and upon arriving at early man- 
hood, he went to Clermont where he entered upon an 
apprenticeship with a master baker. At the close of 
his period of service he established himself at Riom 


where he soon found himself at the head of the 
most flourishing establishment of the kind in the 
city. One of his sisters — the same who afterwards 
became a religious — lived with him and kei)t house 
for him in his earlier days, but, feeling herself 
drawn to a religious life, she only waited for him to 
many in order that she might be free to follow out 
her vocation. 

In the same house with them there lived two 
maiden ladies, — Louise and Jeanne Feuillarade. 
These two sisters took an interest in the young 
Machebeufs, and, in a motherly way, undertook to 
bring about a marriage between Michael Anthony 
and a young friend of theirs, Mademoiselle Gilberte 
Plauc. The pious and well meaning ladies saw the 
good qualities of these two young people whom they 
brought together, and whose union they were happy 
to see consecrated by the blessing of the Cliurch. 
The result justified their hopes, for the marriage 
was a happy one, and its effects were felt farther 
than any but a prophet could foresee, as they reached 
out into a new world as far as distant Ojiio, New 
Mexico and Colorado. 

The first fruit of this marriage saw the light of 
day at Riom on the 11th of August, 1812. It was a 
son, and at his baptism he was given the two names 
— Projectus Joseph. The first name was in honor 
'of the grandfather, who was also sponsor upon the 
occasion. It was also as a mark of confidence in 
St. Projectus who was one of the twenty-eight canon- 
ized Bisho])s of the See of Auvergne, and was the 


patron saint of parish of Volvic, the home of the 

The Latin name, Projectus, is translated into 
French as Priest. This does not mean priest as in 
English, which in French is pretre, but is an or- 
dinary baptismal name, and Father Machebeuf used 
it thus for a time after his coming to America, but 
in English the name of Priest Machebeuf carried a 
suggestion of disrespect as used among the Ameri- 
cans, and Father Machebeuf transposed the two 
names and was ever afterwards known as Joseph 
Projectus Machebeuf. 

His earliest education was begun bj^ his pious 
mother, and she was ably seconded by the Demoi- 
selles Feuillarade, who kept a school for small chil- 
dren. That good mother mingled with her instruc- 
tions lessons of piety by word and example, and 
taught him especially that tender devotion to the 
Mother of God which clung to him during his whole 
life. His father was a man of strong and firm char- 
acter whose every wish was law, yet he upheld and 
imposed his authority by no undue harshness but in 
a manner to insure reverential respect and gain the 
fullest filial affection of his children, thus making 
obedience surer and easier. From his father young 
Joseph learned that respect for authority which par- 
ticularly marked his after life, and brought him pain 
when he noticed the absence of it in others. 

Outside of the paternal home his first regular 
instructors were the Brothers of the Christian 
Schools, to whose care he was confided while still 


very young. Yet, at that early age he was able to 
appreciate tlieir kindness and profit by their lessons. 
He always retained an affectionate remembrance of 
these early teachers, and years afterwards from his 
far-off missions he frequently inquired about them 
in his letters to the members of his family, and sent 
them kindly greetings. 

The hope of having a son a priest is common 
among Christian mothers, and Madame Machebeuf 
entertained it as a possibility even at that early pe- 
riod. Among the members of the Machebeuf family 
there had been no priest within the memory of any- 
one living, yet the desire of such an honor was not 
the less cherished on that account, and why might it 
not be realized now? This good mother planted the 
seed in the youthful mind of her son, and other in- 
fluences helped to vivify it and make it grow into a 
tree, whose branches have spread over two contin- 
ents to bear fruit in both. Nor is that fruit all of the 
past, for, besides the lasting fruits of his own labors, 
the example of Father Machebeuf was followed by 
four of his immediate relatives who became priests. 
The first of these was the xVbbe Fontanel, who died a 
few years ago as Canon of the Cathedral of Cler- 
mont. Two others are now pastors in that diocese, 
and a fourth is a member of a religious order in Bel- 
gium. His only sister became a nun in the Visitation 
Convent at Riom, and to her above all others the 
writer is indebted for the material of this biography. 

His intimate association with the Christian 
Brothers, and also with the Sisters of Charity who 


conducted the Hospital for Incurables at Eiom, and 
who were particular friends of his family, aided and 
encouraged the thought which the parents of the 
young Machebeuf suggested to their son. Nor was 
the influence of the Demoiselles Feuillarade want- 
ing, but behind it all was the grace of God leading 
his young mind steadily on towardis an apostolic vo- 

To realize this idea was not an easy matter in 
those days, for the municipal schools and colleges 
were in the hands of laics, and the disorders and 
loose methods brought in by the Revolution were 
still in vogue and constituted an open danger to re- 
ligioii and morality. The college of Riom had been 
taken from the Oratorians and given to government 
teachers, and here it was that young Machebeuf was 
obliged to go for his classical studies. But the 
watchful care of his family and the friendly interest 
of some of the good priests of Riom, with God's 
grace, enabled him to pass through the danger with- 
out injury to his faith or his virtue. 

When he was only thirteen years of age and 
could least bear it, he suffered the first and greatest 
loss of his lifetime. Madame Machebeuf, his mother, 
was stricken suddenly with brain fever and died af- 
ter only a few days' illness. She left to her sorrow- 
ing husband three almost helpless children, for the 
other two — a girl and a boy — were but five and three 
years old respectively. 

Of this event that little girl, speaking seventy- 
five years later, said: "Wliat a sad blow for this 


little family! for the father and his three on^haned 
chiJdreu! Most fortunately a young aunt, a sister 
of their mother, having no worldly cares of her own, 
offered to devote her life to the care and education 
of these little ones. Yet, kind and tender as she was, 
this second mother could not fill the place, nor efface 
the image of his cherished and lost mother in the 
heart of young Priest. He had known her too well, 
and loved her too much, to forget her so easily. Bet- 
ter able than his young sister and brother to appre- 
ciate her love and care, his grief would have been 
without solace were it not for his devotion to the 
divine Mother, the Comfortress of the Afflicted, 
which the lost one had endeavored to instill into his 
heart from his earliest years. Hence that ardent and 
tender love for Mary which sustained him in the 
midst of the constant trials of his laborious life." 

This last reflection was not merely a pious after- 
thought of a religious, for we shall see how in after 
life devotion to the Blessed Virgin was one of the 
deep-rooted sentiments of his soul. 

This good aunt came as near to filling a mother's 
place for the orphans as any but a mother can, and 
all of them held her in the highest esteem and affec- 
tion during her whole life. The Demoiselles Feuil- 
larade instructed the younger children as they had 
instructed the oldest, and did all they could for tlie 
loved ones whom their dear Gilberte had left be- 
hind. It was a labor of love for them, and they felt 
that it was also an obligation, for they had some- 
thing to do with the formation of the family. 


The succeeding years young Machebeuf spent in 
college work without any special incident to mark 
any portion of them, or to distinguish him from the 
ordinary good and moral youths of the time. He 
was of a delicate physique and complexion, and this 
saved him from some of the rougher s^Dorts and 
recreations, and probably of the dissipations of his 

The thought of the priesthood was with him, 
but the definite call from God was but slowly mani- 
festing itself during these years. To have nourished 
the idea of becoming a priest, and to have preserved 
his virtue in the midst of his dangerous surround- 
ings, did not appear a sufficient guarantee for a 
clear cut decision, and, while he was in this state of 
uncertainty and hesitation, an incident occurred 
which came near turning the whole course of his life 
into another and far different channel. 

In 1830, Algiers surrendered to the French, and 
the armies of France were covered with glory. Yet 
the reign of Charles X was drawing to a close. The 
spirit of revolution was rife, and this made the 
future appear very uncertain for politics and busi- 
ness, and likewise for the Church. The army was the 
only thing which seemed sure, and it promised bril- 
liant careers for the young men of all parties. It at 
least represented the glory of France, and the 
achievements of the past could now be repeated on 
African soil. All France was stirred up, and the 
praises of the army were sung upon all sides. 

A grand review of the troops was held at Cler- 


niont, at which young Machebeuf was present with 
some of his college comrades. His admiration for 
the soldiers was boundless, his patriotism was fired 
and his enthusiasm was wrought up to a high pitch. 
He was moved beyond all his companions, and a 
word was all that was lacking to make him offer him- 
self as a volunteer. That word was not spoken and 
he returned home. 

He had gone to the review without the knowl- 
edge of Ms father, but the entire matter soon 
reached the ears of his parent. The father was 
astonished as the action of his son and more than 
surprised at the enthusiasm of the young man. He 
was displeased and showed his displeasure by a stern 
silence. It was not his intention, however, to show 
his disapproval merely by silence, but at the proper 
time he intended to have a serious talk with his son. 
Young Priest did not fail to notice the silence of his 
father, and he was at no loss to divine the cause of 
it. He was extremely pained by it, and it was a re- 
lief when one day he received a summons from his 
father for a conference. Knowing what was coming 
he obeyed the call with some trepidation, but the 
father put him at his ease by his kindly words. It 
was like a talk between man and man, but with every 
evidence of love and solicitude on the part of the 
father and a desire to do right on the part of his son. 
Mr. Machebeuf laid before the young man the ]>l;nis 
of his friends from his earliest youth, the prepara- 
tions that had been made through the course of his 
education, all of which seemed now in danger of be- 


ing upset and frustrated in a moment of enthusiasm. 
''After all," said the father, "you are free, but con- 
sider well what you are to do, and then do what you 
think is the will of God. ' ' 

The young man did reflect seriously and he went 
also to consult others older and wiser in spiritual 
things than himself. Among those others was an old 
and tried friend of the family, the Abbe Dalleine, 
pastor of the church of St. Amable in Riom, and his 
own spiritual diirector. This man of God had 
watched ever his young friend from his infancy, and 
doubted not that God had destined him for His inti- 
mate service at the altar. He so advised his young 
friend, and acting on this advice the young man de- 
termined to enter the Grand Seminary of Montfer- 
rand. As soon, then, as he had finished his course of 
rhetoric at the college he begged his father to accom- 
pany him to the Seminary and present him to the 
priests of St. Sulpice who had charge of that insti- 

This was at the beginning of October, 1831, and 
up to that time his mind had not been clear as to his 
future course. Doubt andl uncertainty had haunted 
him through all the years of his college studies, and 
followed him to the very threshold of the Seminary. 

His first day at the Seminary was a memorable 
day for him. It seemed that God was waiting there 
for him, allowing him hitherto the merit of a choice 
entirely free, but now to make laiown to him His will 
in a more positive manner. From the very first hour 
he felt himself filled more and more with a myster- 


ions joy, bringing- peace to liis soul and setting aside 
all doubt and hesitation. The very next day he 
wrote to his father a letter filled with expressions of 
gratitude to God, and thanks to his kind and worthy 
parent for the thousand favors and acts of kindness 
which he had received from him, but more especially 
for this last act by which he was enabled to see so 
clearly the grand vocation of his life. Excuses and 
regrets for the past were numerous, but that was all 
gone now, and the present was a decided certiiinty in 
view of a future which appeared so clear and open. 
From tliat time on, all his letters had that fixed and 
settled tone, and never once showed any sign of 
wavering intention or regret of puriTOse. 

Tlie close confinement of seminary life was a 
severe strain upon the health of the young man, 
who had always been accustomed to greater free- 
dom, and before many months he was forced to 
leave the seminary to rest and recruit his physical 
forces by physical exercise. 

Those who knew him in later years will not be 
surprised to learn that, even at that early day, his 
natural activity could not be suppressed. To re- 
main quiet was to wear out, and rest in action was 
his hope of life. It was thus always, and in his old 
days his recreations would fatigue a strong man of 
ordinary temperament. 

Each scholastic year was thus broken into by a 
few weeks which he spent among the mountains of 
Volvic, the home of his ancestors, where his paternal 
grandfather still lived. Refreshed and recruited by 


these rests, he would take up his studies again with 
greater vigor and effect, and rapidly advanced in the 
knowledge necessary for the priesthood. These 
periodical rests and enforced vacations do not ap- 
pear to have delayed his studies, for at the regular 
times he was advanced with those of his class. The 
requisite dispositions of the soul were not lacking, 
and the call to the subdiaconate came to him in 
December, 1835. Not without fear did he hear it, 
yet without hesitation he obeyed it, and on Decem- 
ber 19, with the name of Mary on his lips to implore 
her help and continued protection, he took the step 
which definitely decided his future career for life. 
The subdeaconship was conferred upon him by Mgr. 
Feron, the Bishop of Clermont. Upon the eve of 
Trinity, 1836, he was ordained a deacon, and on the 
21st of the following December he received the sac- 
erdotal consecration at the hands of the same 
Bishop Feron, and was made a "priest forever ac- 
cording to the order of Melchisedech. ' ' 


First Appointment. — Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.— 
Month of May.— Consoling Results of the Exercises. — Desire 
for a Missionary Life.— Hears Father Odin and Bishop Flaget. 
—Resolves to go to Ameriea.— Obstacles. — Secret Departure. 

The many years of study, and the close applica- 
tion necessary in the preparation for the priesthood 
constitute a strain upon the physical system which 
tells upon the strongest constitutions. It has long 
been a praiseworthy custom to allow the newly-or- 
dained priest a certain time, regulated by necessity 
and circumstances, in which to recuperate his ex- 
hausted forces before assig^ning him to the active 
ministry. The Abbe Machebeuf had several inter- 
vals of recuperation during the years of his seminary 
course, but they were not entirely given up to rest 
and recreation. His nature required a great deal of 
physical exercise, and he could improve under bod- 
ily fatigue, but he could also do much regular work 
during these times of activity. His periods of relaxa- 
tion, or might we not call it more strenuous activity, 
for the body did not mean a cessation of mental 
work. His young sister and brother claimed a good 
portion of his time, for he became their religious 
teacher and gave them lessons which heli)ed to for- 
tify their Christian character, and, in the case of his 
sister, his influence was used to direct her thoughts 
towards the religious life. 

The young priests who were ordained with the 


Abbe Macliebeuf sought repose and a renewal of 
strength in the midst of their families, awaiting at 
leisure the call of their bishop to active life and 
labor. In reality Father Macliebeuf required this 
not less than the others, and he might have had it, 
but he wanted "rest in action," and asked to be 
placed at once in the active exercise of the work of 
the ministry. His wish was granted and he was sent 
to assist in the parish of Cendre at a little distance 
from the city of Clermont. 

The pastor of the church at Cendre was an old 
and tried veteran in the service of the Church, and 
had gone bravely through the stormy days of the 
great French Revolution. His age and years of 
service entitled him to some relief now, and he was 
not averse to allowing a portion of his accustomed 
work to be borne by another. This portion was the 
active work of the parish, but the old man did not 
limit it to that, but permitted a great part of the or- 
dinary work to fall to the share of his yoimg curate. 

Father Machebeuf was equal to the task and 
actually sought the work. He preached regularly, 
instructed the children, visited the sick and the poor, 
and whatever spare time he had he devoted to study. 
His sermons of this period were all written out, and 
were models of simplicity, practically adapted to a 
congregation composed of the simple peasantry in a 
country parish. He preserved many of these ser- 
mons, and the well-worn condition in which they 
were found among his papers after his death, shows 
that he used them often as the groundwork for many 


of his instructions during his subsequent missionary 
labors. That a large proportion of these sermons 
had the Blessed Virgin for their subject proves the 
depths of his devotion to the Mother of God, and, 
strange to think now, it was this devotion which al- 
most brought him into conflict with the venerable 
pastor of Cendre. 

At the approach of the month of ^lay, Father 
Machebeuf wished to make preparations for May 
Devotions. This was quite natural for him, but it wai5 
a new departure for the old pastor. It was a novelty ! 
an innovation ! The lingering consequences of Jan- 
senism were yet visible, and new forms of devotion 
were not encouraged by the old pastors. Special de- 
votions to the Blessed Virgin were of the suspected 
class. The aged priest may have partaken of this 
prejudice, which was then often found among veiy 
excellent priests, but in any case, he was old, and it is 
difficult to move old men. What had been good 
enough for them ought to be good enough for the 
rising generation. Then, too, it savors a little of dis- 
approval when old methods are changed or new ones 
introduced, and seems to imply a superior knowl- 
edge, a superior tact, or mayhaj), a sujierior assur- 
ance which the old pioneer will more readily admit. 
Father Machebeuf said nothing when his super- 
ior objected, although sui*prised and saddened by the 
opposition which he had not antici]>ated. Ho had 
been trained by the priests of St. Sulpiee, and tlicir 
training had so strengthened his hitherto deep-seated 
love and reverence for the Mother of God, that it 


was as natural for him to have confidence in her as in 
his own parents, and he could not well understand 
how anyone could object to the public expression of 
so beautiful a sentiment. He did not reflect that he 
had been educated at a different epoch and by differ- 
ent masters from the priests of the olden school. The 
influence of the Sulpicians had not always been so 
effectual, and to their influence, more than to any 
other cause, was dne the rise, or at least the re- 
awakening in France of that tender and intense de- 
votion to the Blessed Virgin which is now so general, 
and which seems to flourish with especial vigor 
wherever their influence has reached. 

Not discouraged, however, the young curate 
went to his room, and, taking his rosary, he spent the 
rest of the day in prayer. He prayed, not that he 
might have his own way, but that whatever was for 
the glory of God might be done, and he felt confident 
that Urtj would arrange all things for the best. 

That same evening the pastor called him and 
said: ''You wish to celebrate the Month of Mary, 
do you!" "Yes, sir," answered the young curate. 
"Do you think that this devotion will do anj^ good 
to the parish I" asked the pastor. "I am sure it 
will," replied Father Machebeuf, with warm^th of 
manner and conviction in his tone. "Then, go on 
and do as you wish in the matter," said the vener- 
able Cure, and no permission ever brought greater 
joy to young Father Machebeuf than that conveyed 
by these words. 

Immediately he wrote to his young sister, who 


was a pupil with the nuns of the Visitation in his na- 
tive village of Rioni, expressing his lively joy and re- 
questing her to make up and send to him at once a 
supply of artificial flowers for his May altar. This 
she did with great pleasure, and she was delighted 
to learn and to record the fact that the May Devo- 
tions were numerously attended and resulted in a 
great increase of piety in the parish of Cendre. 

The labors of Father Machebeuf were fruitful 
in every sense, and his vigilance was so effective that 
the parishioners used to say that they had no longer 
any need of the rural policeman — (garde cham- 
petre). The activity which he displayed even at that 
early date will not surprise his later friends, but 
they will rather wonder how he was able to content 
himself with so limited a field of labor. His mission- 
ary vocation, however, had not yet developed, al- 
though the seed of it was sown several years before 
while he was in the seminary. 

This seed had fallen on ground which was fa- 
vorable to its growth by nature, and grace came to 
give the true life to its development and the right 
flavor to its fruit. Nature had endowed him with a 
desire for travel, and a readiness to acce]it sacrifice 
for glory, as is evidenced by the episode which barely 
escaped making him a soldier in the army of Algiers. 
Grace came to sanctify these longings by turning 
them to the glory of God and the salvation of needy 

While Father Machebeuf was still a student in 
the seminary, the Lazarist, Father Odin, who later 


became Bishop of Gralveston and Arclibisliop of New 
Orleans, visited Clermont in searcli of aid for the 
struggling- missions of America. It was said of him 
that "his simplicity, amiability and gentle deport- 
ment gained him many friends, and he succeeded in 
collecting a considerable sum of money, besides orna- 
ments for the altar. He also secured a number of 
ecclesiastics for his mission, some belonging to his 
Congregation, others secular priests. Many of these 
accompanied him on his return and the rest fol- 
lowed at a subsequent period. ' ' 

Among ' ' the rest ' ' were at least five young men 
who listened to Father Odin at the Seminary of 
Montf errand, and who, at the '^subsequent period," 
left their sunny France together to go and labor for 
God in the wildernesses of Ohio in the days of their 
colonization nearly seventy years ago. Among these 
pioneer missionaries was the curate of Cendre, the 
Abbe Machebeuf. 

Another circumstance which had its share in di- 
recting the steps of Father Machebeuf towards 
America, was the presence in France at that time of 
the saintly Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, Kentucky. 
This venerable prelate was a native of Auvergne, 
and his reputation for sanctity was as firmly estab- 
lished in Europe as it was in America. He had spent 
forty-three years upon the missions of wildest 
America, twenty-five of which were as a bishop whose 
jurisdiction extended over seven of our present 
States, and whose presence was necessary from time 
to time in every part of his vast diocese. The weight 


of more than seventy years was pressing upon him, 
and he had come to France with the hope of spending 
his few remaining years in quiet and in preparation 
for eternity. 

To this plan of the humble and holy Bishop, 
Pope Gregory XVI would not listen. On the con- 
trary, the Pope had a plan of his own. The Associa- 
tion of the Propagation of the Faith had been estab- 
lished only a short time before, and was not yet ex- 
tensively spread. Gregorys XVI saw in BisliO]> Fla- 
get the very man to make known the object of this 
organization and the immense good it might accom- 
plish. No one could represent better than Bishop 
Flaget the state of the missions, and show the far- 
reaching power of prayer and material aid, and his 
reputation for sanctity was a guarantee of sincerity, 
besides being a plea in itself. 

At the wish of the Pope Bishop Flaget under- 
took this work, and, notwithstanding his age and in- 
firmities, continued it for two years, visiting forty- 
six dioceses in France and Sardinia. His home, if 
home he could be said to have while doing so vast a 
work, was in his native diocese of Clermont. Here 
the clergy^ learned much from him of that distant 
America which was stretching out its hands in su]v 
pliance to its older sister in religion for help; of its 
struggling peo]~>le asking for priests to break to them 
the bread of life, and the hearts of many among the 
younger clergy^ burned with the desire of answering 
the appeal. The seed sown by Father (^din was 



warmed into life by Bishop Flaget, and now the 
plants were ready for the setting out. 

Father Machebenf was among the first of those 
who made up their minds to leave the work at home, 
where there were many willing hands to do it, and 
to go to where laborers were few and the work wait- 
ing. He did not come to this conclusion suddenly and 
in a moment of enthusiasm. Once before he had al- 
most yielded to impulse, and he could now see what 
the consequences in his life would have been; now, 
he must not trust to that other impulse although it 
was in general accord with the career to which he 
had been called. 

Before deciding upon anything definite, he con- 
sulted his former teachers and directors at the Sem- 
inary, and also weighed tlie matter before God in 
prayer and meditation. The diocesan retreat was 
made at the end of September, 1838, and during 
those days Father Machebeuf meditated on this 
second grand vocation of his life, trying to decide the 
questions : ' ' Is it for the glory of God ? Is it for the 
salvation of souls'?" 

Before the close of the retreat the answers were 
vouchsafed to him in sufficiently clear terms, and he 
made the offering of his life to God for the second 
tim^e, closing the struggle with doubt and hesitation 
with the following prayer. 

Oh my God, grant that during my whole life I may re- 
member llie 26th, 27th and 28th of September, 1838, that all 
my life I may have present to my mind that it was during 
these days that I gave myself again to Thee without reserve! 


And you. Oh Mary, my lioly MotliiM-, yon wlin arc rny sirciiirth 
and my support, remember that it was while invoking your 
holy name that I took the first step which bound me to the 
service of your Divine Son in the sanctuarj'; deijrn to accept 
the resolution which I make at this moment! Be pleased to 
present it yourself to your dear Son, for, presented by hands 
so pure, it cannot be otherwise than pleasinsr to Him. Assist 
me, that all in me henceforth may be employed in loving God 
and in making Him loved by others, that saving willing and 
needy souls and gaining hearts may from this on be the sole 
object of my life. 

From this retreat Father Machebeuf went forth 
a chanc^ed man. His destiny was to be a missionary 
in America, — there was his life's work, and there, as 
far as is permitted for a priest, was to be his eartlily 

Tliis first and most important question of his vo- 
cation to a missionary- life having been decided, the 
future missionary had now the task of overcoming 
the difficulties in the way of its realization. To get 
the permission of his bishop would not be difficult, 
for vocations to the priesthood were numerous in 
Auverg-ne, and that Province had not yet begun to 
send out its missionaries almost in droves, as it did 
later when the exodus became so great that the good 
Bishop Feron became alanned lest he should have 
difficulty in providing for the needs of his own spirit- 
ual children at home. 

For the choice of a diocese in which to la]x)r, 
his teachers at the Seminary came to his aid. It 
happened providentially that Bishop Purcell of Cin- 
cinnati was then in Rome. Bishop Purcell had been 
a student under the Sulpicians at Paris, and his 


former spiritual director, Father Comfe, was now 
the Superior of the Seminary of Montferrand. The 
Bishop wrote to Father Comfe, asking him to find a 
few good young priests whom he might take with 
him on his return to the New World. Father Comfe 
lost no time before speaking to Father Machebeuf 
and several other young priests who had' expressed 
their desire for a missionary life. A little band of 
priests, all intimate friends, was thus made up, and, 
while Bishop Purcell was transacting his business at 
Eome, they made their own arrangements for de- 
parture. This first band was composed of Fathers 
Machebeuf, Lamy, Gacon, Cheymol and Navaron, of 
all of whom we shall have occasion to speak later on. 
All of the difficulties for Father Machebeuf, 
however, had not yet been overcome. The hardest 
to meet were still before him, and they lay in an en- 
tirely different direction. They rose from the 
peculiar circumstances in which the members of his 
family were placed', and from the great affection 
which all the members of tlie family entertained for 
him. His brother Marius was now in his sixteenth 
year, and it was time for him to go and prepare him- 
self for his career in life. Mademoiselle Anne 
Machebeuf, his "little sister," as he always called 
her, had finished her convent education the year 
previous, at the age of seventeen and had returned to 
the Convent of the Visitation at Riom as a postulant 
in the community. Her vocation was a matter 
which the future must yet determine. Their devoted 
aunt, who had spent the best years of her life in their 


service, was no longer a young woman, and she could 
not be thrown ui)on the world, neither could she re- 
main with their father when they were all gone. 
Tlien, their dear old father should not be left alone 
in his declining years. 

It was a complication of circumstances, and the 
same idea of a solution of them, as far as their 
parents were concerned, came to the minds of the 
three children: Would a marriage between their 
father and their maternal aunt be possible? If it 
could be so arranged, the way would be clear for each 
of the children to pursue the course in life to which 
Providence seemed to direct. 

They consulted the proper authorities and were 
assured that the circumstances of the case were such 
as would justify the necessary dispensation from 
the Church. They then spoke to their father and 
their aunt, and succeeded in bringing them both to 
the opinion that a marriage between the two was 
permissible and would bring pleasure and hai)piness 
to the entire family. Father Machebeuf himself 
blessed this union, and it was the gladdest action of 
his ministry in France. 

About this time the "little sister" finished' her 
term of ]>robation as postulant at the convent and 
was allowed to receive the habit of a novice. xVt this 
ceremony Father Machebeuf preached the sermon, 
and chose for her the name of Sister Marie Philo- 
mene, which she was ever afterwards to bear with 
honor. Her solemn ])rofession as a Sister took place 
on November 7, 1839, but her reverend and much 


loved brother was then far away just beginning the 
active exercise of the duties of his new career. Sister 
Marie Philomene, when the writer last heard from 
her, in June, 1904, was still in her convent home at 
Riom, in the full possession of all her mental vigor 
and with her physical forces without serious impair- 

Only one obstacle now remained in the way of 
Father Machebeuf, and that was the anticipated op- 
position of his friends, and especially of his father. 
The new missionaries were to meet in Paris in May, 
and as the time approached the anxiety of Father 
Machebeuf increased. As yet he had said nothing to 
his father of his plans, for he knew well the stern 
will of his parent, as well as his affection, and that 
the two combined would result in a direct command 
against his leaving home. He was, of course, a priest 
and must obey what seemed to be a call from God, 
but the evidence of this call would not be as clear to 
his father as to himself, and he did not wish that a 
direct command from his parent should be placed in 
opposition to his duty. In order to escape such a 
dilemma he consulted again his friends of the Sem- 
inary, and by their advice he determined to avoid this 
obstacle rather than attempt to remove it. His new 
plan was to leave home by stealth, and trust to Provi- 
dence to soften the blow for his beloved father, and 
obtain forgiveness for himself for such a seeming 
flagrant violation of filial respect and duty. All his 
preparations were made in secret, and only by 

SisiF.R Makii Fimi.omene. 


chance did his departure become Imown almost im- 
mediately to the members of his family. 

Thirty years later, upon his first visit to his na- 
tive diocese after he had been made a bishop, the 
Semaine Religieuse of Clermont graphically de- 
scribes his departure in its issue of Sept. 13, 1869. It 

On the morning of the 21st of May, 1839, two youns: 
priests of the Diocese of Clermont, dressed as civilians, passed 
hurriedly along the streets of Riom before sunrise, and went 
out of the city by the main road leading towards Paris. Upon 
reaching the o]ien country they stoj^ped to await the coming of 
the diligence Avhich was to take them over the first stage of 
their journey to the Seminary of Foreign Missions in that dis- 
tant capital. Their departure resembled rather a flight, yet, 
in spite of its secrecy the young ecclesiastics were seen, and 
one of them was recognized by a brother priest and former 
fellow-student. A few words explained all, and, as this friend 
grasped the hand of the young traveler in an affectionate fare- 
well, he saw the emotion which shook the delicate frame of the 
voluntaiy exile as he cast a last tearful look back upon his 
native city. He realized that a terrible struggle was taking 
place in that heart whose tender sensibilities were so well 
known to him. In fact, a great and sublime sacrifice was be- 
ing accomplished there at that moment. The young priest, in 
order to spare his family the heart-rending pain of a farewell, 
and likewise to escape their determined resistance to what he 
considered his vocation, had passed before the door of his 
father's house without stopping to enter. His young com- 
panion, whose own heart was still throbbing with the emo- 
tions of a similar sacrifice made only the day before, was 
scarcely less disturbed, but, drawing near to his sobbing friend, 
he lightly laid his hand upon his shoulder and pointed towards 
heaveii. Silently they turned and continued on tlioir way. The 
young fugitives were the Abbe Lamy and the Abbe Machebcuf. 

The reality of the event differed but little from 
this account, although some of the dramatic touches 
were wanting. His own account was that he passed 


his father's door in the diligence, and that he lay 
down on the floor of it in order to escape observation. 
This precaution was successful, and none of his im- 
mediate relatives knew of his departure until it was 
too late to make any attempt to dissuade him from 
the step. He had ridden rough-shod over the last 
obstacle, but he was yet to know the pain of it. 

Years afterwards he used to speak of his leav- 
ing home as more of an escape, and smile at the recol- 
lection of the manner in which he had circumvented 
his friends and avoided their opposition. The event 
had its humorous side, and that seemed to remain 
with him after the pain had passed away. 

It certainly was an unusual manner of going 
away, and it is probable that most of the missionaries 
would not have had the courage to go to America, or 
any other mission, if they all had the difficulties to 
overcome which faced Father Machebeuf. 


Anival in Paris. — News of Their Fliglit. — Grief of Mr. 
Machebeuf.— Father Maehebeuf's Letter.— Letter of Bishop 
Piircell. — Forgiveness.— Journeys. — The Sylvie de Grasse. — 
The Departure. — Members of the Party. — Joy in Exile.— The 
Hundred-fold Reward. 

Tlie two runaways, as we might call them, 
reached Paris somewhat fatigued but otherwise 
none the worse for the journey. Neither of them 
was veiy strong just at the time. Father Lamy was 
but recovering from a siege of illness, and Father 
Machebeuf was suffering for the want of greater 
activity. There was not enough of outdoor work in 
the parish of Cendre to supply him with necessary 
exercise, and, as a young priest he gave consider- 
able time to the preparation of his sermons. He 
took frequent and long walks visiting the priests of 
the neighboring parishes, but his nature required 
more of the broad sky and open sunshine than he 
was getting, and it was languishing under the priva- 
tion. They were made welcome at the Seminaiy 
of Foreign Missions where they were to await the 
coming of their three companions from Auvergne, 
the Fathers Gacon, Che>anol and Navaron, and 
where they were all to stay until Bishop Purcell had 
comi)leted his business in Europe and was ready to 
start on his return voyage to America. 

In the meantime, the young priest who had seen 
the two fugitives in their flight, brought the news 


to the friends of Father Machebeuf . It was like a 
thunderbolt from a clear sky, but it was too late to 
protest, or stop them. The friends could only grieve, 
and in addition the father of Father Machebeuf was 
very angry with his son. His first thought was that 
this was another sudden impulse, and youthful en- 
thusiasm had run away with common sense. And 
why this lack of respect and loss of confidence in a 
father who had always been his best friend and ad- 
viser? Was this the treatment due him after the 
life-long care shown to his first-born and best-beloved 
child ? Ingratitude ! 

Father Machebeuf learned these things from a 
letter written the next day by his sister, and his own 
feelings were stirred to the highest pitch of grief 
and anxiety by the news. Immediately he sat down 
and wrote to his father the following letter of filial 
yearning and pathetic appeal. It will be seen that 
he addressed his father as ' ' Dear Papa. ' ' This was 
the manner in which he addressed his father in all 
his letters, and it shows an affection becoming in 
the child and highly honorable in the man. 

Paris, May 24, 1839. 
Very Dear Papa : 

I have just received a letter from my sister, and from it 
I leani that my departure has cast you into a state of sadness 
and grief which seems past all consolation. This is the very 
thing which caused me great anxiety before, and made so much 
harder for me the sacrifice which the good God asked of me. 

The proofs of goodness and affection which I have ever re- 
ceived from you up to this moment have been too m.any and 
too great to allow me to doubt your love for an instant, and 
the pi'esentiment that my departure would cause you sore af- 


fliction haunted my mind and saddened uie these mauy weeks. 
I beg of you to believe that, in acting as I did, I but followed 
the voice of conscience. 

It is true that affection and gratitude would keep me near 
you, but the voice of God was calling me elsewhere, and I 
could not 1)0 deaf to it. All of my directors and superiors told 
me that the time was come for me to accomplish the will of 
God in my regard. They reminded me of the obligations I had 
contracted upon receiving Holy Orders of devoting myself to 
the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Without being 
wanting in my duty I could no longer resist the inclination 
which I have so long felt for the missions. 

But, what has, perhaps, caused you the most pain, is that 
I left without telling you, and without going to bid you a last 
farewell. Let me assure you that this was not through in- 
difference or lack of consideration for you, but in reality 
through obedience to the Su]>erior of the Seminary, who en- 
joined upon me the most inviolable secrecy. In the face of all 
the longing which I had to go and tell you good bye, he in- 
sisted that the interview would be too painful for both of us. 
I asked him then to allow me to go and see you often before 
leaving, in order to make up somewhat for our coming years 
of separation. It was for this reason that I made those fre- 
quent visits to Riom during the month of May, to show you 
that, if obedience prevented me from telling you my secret, at 
least I was doing all that I could to testify to you my love 
and affection. Then, dear Papa, do not think that it was 
through hardness of heart that I passed through the city with- 
out seeing you. The sacrifice was great for me, but my course 
was marked out and I had to hold to it. 

When I learned that you had expressed a desire to see me 
once more, although fatigued by the journey of two hundred 
leagnes, I was even then disposed to return to Riom, but a 
Vicar General from America and the Superior of the Foreign 
Missions where we are staying prevented me, telling me that 
the parting after such a visit would be more painful than what 
we are now suffering, and that we would be obliged to part in 
any case. 

This, then, was the new sacrifice which they asked of me,— 
to give up this apparent consolation, and I trust that the good 
God will grant to both of us the strength necessary to bear all 
the trials wiiich He may send to us. And, since you partake 
in the .sacrifice, I hope that God may give you to partake also in 


the recompense for whatever little good I may be able to do in 
that counti-y where there is so much to be done. 

As I told you, we are staying at the Seminary of Foreign 
Missions, Rue du Bac. The Superior and the Vicar General of 
the diocese where we are going received us with a cordiality 
and an affection truly paternal. Our Bishop comes from Bor- 
deaux on Saturday or Sunday, and we shall embark some time 
during the month of June. I)o not woriy in the least about 
me; we are children of Providence and God will not abandon 
us. I beg- of you then, in the name of that Providence, not to 
gi-ieve so much over my leaving. It is God Who has willed it; 
may His holy will be done. 

I sincerely hope that you have already forgiven me for all 
the pain I have caused you, and that you will kindly grant me 
the favor I now ask of you, and that is, to write me one word 
assuring me of the pardon which I urgently implore. 

Embrace for me with your whole heart that good aunt 
whom it was so painful for me to leave, and also that dear 
brother so devoted to me. Adieu ! Every day I pray to the 
good God for you all. Your most affectionate son, 


When Bishop Purcell arrived in Paris and 
learned how things were, he also wrote a letter well 
calculated to console Mr. Machebeuf, and even to 
make him proud to think that he had a son capable 
of such a sacrifice. It was couched in the following 
terms : 

Paris, May 26, 1839. 
Dear Sir: My heart feels fully the sorrow that the de- 
parture of your dear son for the missions of America has caused 
you. I know all that such a separation should cost to so good 
a father, — to a father who knew how to rear his children so 
well in the midst of a generation so jDeiwerse and so little docile 
to our holy religion as is that of today. Yet I am quite sure 
that your regi'et, although very keen, is not without a mixture 
of holy joy that God has given you a son capable of such 
heroism, and that He has chosen among your children an apos- 
tle capable, like those of olden times, of leaving all thing's for 
His love. Yes, dear and venerable friend, the good Jesus Who 
has given us all, even to the last droj) of His blood, well merits 


that we should with a large heart make for Him the sacrifices 
which He asks of us. He knows well how to recompense us in 

Then forgive this dear son if in leaving you his fears were 
too great to allow him to bid you farewell. It was in this man- 
ner that the great Apostle of the Indias, St. Francis Xavier, 
passed the house of his parents without saluting them, to go 
to a barbarous land much farther away than oui*s. In these 
days communication is more easy and more frequent than in 
the 16th century. We are walking in the footsteps of those 
early servants of God. For them the way was strewn with 
thorns; we have at least a few flowers, planted by a Flaget, a 
Tessier, a Dubois, a Cheverus. a Dubourg, a Garnier, a Brute, 
and so many other French missionaries, whom it will be our 
Christian glor\' to imitate with all the exactitude, fidelity and 
humility that will be possible for us. 

Adieu, good father. I bid you farewell for your dear son, 
who is now not only yours but mine also, that is, of two fathers 
instead of one. I shall love him for you ; he will pray for you on 
earth, and in heaven by the numerous souls whom God pro- 
pose to save through his ministry. Pray for him, and for me 
who will always be, with the greatest affection in the Lord, 
Your servant and friend, 


Bp. of Cin'ti. 

These letters had the desired effect of reconcil- 
ing Mr. Machebeuf to the loss of his son, and he 
wrote to Bishop Purcell and to Father Machebeuf 
granting the forgiveness asked, and assuring them 
of his entire resignation to the will of God. It was 
a severe trial but he offered it for the future safety 
of liis son. 

During the interval before sailing Bishop Pur- 
cell had several visits to make in different parts of 
France, and he took Father Machebeuf along with 
him as his traveling companion, and also that the 
health of the young priest might be benefited by out- 
door exercise and the pure air of the country. It 


was again the *'rest in action" which was essential 
to Father Machebeuf. He was never of a robust 
constitution, and his health was always a source of 
anxiety to his friends. His pale complexion and 
light colored hair had gained for him the name of 
"Whitey" among his companions, and he was as 
often called by that name by his familiar friends as 
by any other. 

These journeys did him much good, and he kept 
his friends informed of the fact by letters to his 
sister. He also indicated the same in a letter written 
to his father just before he left France for America. 
This was in answer to his father's letter of forgive- 
ness, and conveys his final farewell, but it also con- 
tains other matters which are not without interest at 
this distant day. It is a model which might be 
studied with profit, not merely for its outward ex- 
pression, but more especially because of the founda- 
tion of Christian sentiments upon which it rests. 

Havre, July 7, 1839. 
My Very Dear Papa: 

I cannot give you an idea of the pleasure your letter of 
July 3, has caused me. Mgr. Purcell was delighted that you 
were pleased to write him. He requests me to say to you 
in a special way all manner of kind things from him. He has 
promised to bring me with him when he comes to France 
again. You know that these missionary bishops never stay 
longer than seven or eight years without coming back for more 
means and more missionaries, and, since he took me with him 
traveling in Fra.nee before our embarkation, I have every rea- 
son to hope that he will do the same when he is coming back 
to Europe. 

Do not trouble yourself in the least about my health. It 
is not for myself that I am going to labor, — it is for the good 
God, and if He wants me to be good for something, He must 


tjive uie the strenorth. And tlien, too, if you knew how careful 
our hoi}' Bishop is of us you would cease to worry. I feel just 
as much at home with him as with you, and I am quite confused 
by the attachment which he constantly shows me. It is just 
as he told you in his letter, that I have two fathers instead 
of one. 

My health is getting better every day, and I find the jour- 
neys that we made to the north of France did me a great deal 
of good. I have taken some sea baths whicli have sti-ength- 
ened me. I have been traveling a good deal since I wrote tt> 
you. Last Monday we were at Dieppe, and from there Bishop 
Purcell went to Havre and I returned to Paris to be with my 
dear confrere, Father Lamy. What was my surprise upon ar- 
riving in Paris to find Father Lamy promenading after supper 
with Father (Jacoii and conipej'e Cheymol, and talking about 
me! They did not think that I was so near. You can rest 
assured that during the two days we spent in Paris the conver- 
sation did not lag. I had so many questions to ask the new- 
comers about your health, about my good aunt, and about my 
brother and sister. One day we went out to the country house 
of Mgr. de Nancy, where we found Bishop Flaget and four 
nuns ready to go with us. I am happy to assure you that 
Father Lamy is well enough now to undertake the voyage. 

When at Havre I visited the vessel several times on whieli 
we are to go, and I had not counted upon having so much lux- 
ury as I found there. The cabins, the dining-room and the 
ladies' saloon are all paneled in mahogany, with pilasters the 
bases and capitals of which are solidly gilt. Each cabin serves 
for two persons, and the berths, which are not much more than 
a foot wade, are placed one above the other. I do not know 
yet who will be in the same cabin with me. I saw the Captain 
several times and he was very polite to me. He is from Bor- 
deaux and has ti-aveled considerably in America. Bishop Pur- 
cell crossed the ocean once with him, in 1824. The vessel is 
called The Sylvie de Grasse. I visited several of the other 
ships in the harbor but found none as fine as this. 

We shall have a Negro as cook, but I assure you there 
is nothing black about him but his skin. He is very clever at 
his profession. Every day we shall have fresh bread, milk for 
our coffee, fresh butter, and fresh fruit and vegetables during 
the fiist eight days. I visited every place, even the stalls for 
the cows and sheep, and the little store-room for the provis- 
ions of the kitchen. Thus you see that these vessels are verit- 
able hotels, only (hat the rooms are but six feet square. 


Dear and beloved Papa, my sister tells me that you re- 
gretted not having seen me in order to recommend yourself to 
my prayers. Do you think that I need to be reminded of that? 
Would not my religion, and my gratitude for all you have done 
for me, make that a sacred duty? Yes, dear Papa, rest as- 
sured that, although far away from you in body, you will al- 
ways be present to my mind, and if I am interesting myself 
for persons whom I do not yet know, could you believe that 
I would be indifferent to your welfare, or that of my dear aunt 
and my brother who has been so affectionately attached to me? 
No ! and I will pray for your welfare every day, for I owe 
you eternal gratitude for having furnished me the means of 
entering the sacred ministry which I to-day exercise, and it 
seems to me that I am just beginning to understand the words 
of our Divine Lord: ''What will it profit a man to gain the 
whole world if he lose his own soul?" And if I dared at this 
moment to give you advice, it would be to exhort you to medi- 
tate seriously before God upon these same words. Yes, dear 
Papa, remember well that everything upon earth passes away; 
that life itself passes rapidly and that eternity awaits us. Let 
us force ourselves to win this eternity which is promised to us. 
We must merit it at whatever cost, and when we shall be there 
united it will be never to be separated. Pardon me the liberty 
I take, but it is my affection for you which dictates these few 
words which I cannot write without moistening them with my 

As you know, our departure is fixed for to-morrow. The 
Captain thinks that the voyage will last a month, or five weeks 
at the most. Present my respects to the pastor and his curate, 
to the good Sisters of Charity, and the dear Chi'istian Brothers. 
Tell them that I ask for myself and my companions at least a 
decade of the rosary for a favorable voyage. 

You offer excuses, dear Papa, for sending me so little 
money. On the contrary, it is more than I expected from you 
in your present circumstances, and the 500 francs have sufficed 
for all my wants. I do not think (hat I shall need any more 
this year. If I do I shall write to you in full confidence. I 
would like to write to my sister but I have no time. I only 
ask her to present my respects to the Sisters and recommend 
me to their prayers. 

Dear Papa, I shall now close by assuring you anew of my 
sincere affection. Be my interpreter to my good aunt and my 
brother, and accept the embraces of 

Your most obedient and affectionate son. 


T\\e heart of Father Machebeuf must have l>eeii 
heavy wlien he wrote this letter, but he gives little 
evidence of such a feeling. His thought seemed to be 
to lighten the sadness of parting for others. Certain 
it is that he could see nothing in his own future that 
should cast a gloom over his spirits. His hopes were 
roseate and his enthusiasm was almost unbounded, 
and these would not permit of any hesitation in his 
proposed course. Necessarily the grand picture in 
his imagination could never be fully realized, but at 
no time in his life afterwards did the moment come 
when ho showed any regret for the choice he had 

The departure, which was set for July 8, did not 
take place until the following day, and upon that 
date, July 9, 1839, Father Machebeuf gave up his be- 
loved France and all it contained, and thenceforth 
his life looked forward and his thoughts were upon 
America to which he felt that he now belonged. 

One circumstance which cheered him up in his 
departure was that he was not alone in making the 
sacrifice. His party numbered fifteen, and of these, 
twelve or more were leaving the land of their birth 
upon a mission similar to his own. Father Mache- 
beuf tells us that there were the five friends from 
Auvergne, three from other dioceses, several Sisters, 
Bishop Purcell, Bisho]) Fiaget and his Vicar Gen- 
eral, the Ver\^ Rev. John McGill. Father ^lachebeuf 
made a mistake in his letter to his father when he 
spoke of Father McGill as the Vicar General of the 
diocese where they were going. He was the Vicar 
General of the Diocese of Bardstown. 


These could naturally encourage and strengthen 
one another, and the fact that Bishop Flaget was of 
the party must have been a powerful source of en- 
couragement to the younger volunteers. His words 
had given definite form and action to their first 
vague aspirations; his example now must have 
added force to their resolutions and kept the weakest 
from wavering. 

The probability, however, of any of them giving 
place to regret was. small, for there is something in 
religion which sweetens sacrifice and gives joy a per- 
manent abiding place in the heart of him who makes 
the sacrifice for God. Laments, dirges and threno- 
dies have been written for and' by exiles from their 
native land, but who ever heard of a lament sung 
by a self-exiled servant of God who left all to fol- 
low Christ? The fulfilment of the promise of Christ 
is here plain. ''Every one that hath left house, or 
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or 
children, or lands for my name's sake shall receive a 
himdred-f old. ' ' 

A thought comes here, foreign to the subject of 
this book, but germane to the idea of the reward for 
sacrifice for Christ's sake. The Church of France 
has always shown itself prodigal of its children and 
its substance when it was a question of spreading the 
faith in missionary lands. China, Japan, both the 
Indias, Africa, and America to tlie frozen north, 
have all been warmed by the zeal of French priests, 
have all drunk the blood of French martyrs, and all 


have been pensioners on the bounty of Frenc*h bene- 
factors. The nearer we get to the beginning of the 
Church in these lands, the more we find of French 
labor and of French charity. Where the Church is 
yet undeveloj)ed, there yet are the French apostles 
in the majority. The early priests, the early Broth- 
ers and the early Sisters came principally from 
France, and the furnishings of their early churches 
were the ])roduct of French generosity. Tlie Society 
of the Pro[)agation of the Faith has been supported 
mainly in France, and it has sent millions in money 
for the establishment and spread of Christ's king- 
dom among tribes and nations. These were sacri- 
fices for Clirist's sake. 

At home the Church of France has been called 
upon to choose between Christ and temporal things. 
The choice was laid before it more than a centur\' 
ago, and the answer forced a Concordat which left to 
it a remnant of its wealth. That remnant is now 
seized, but the otTer is made of great riches and 
greater influence, if it will but give up Clirist. The 
answer is given again by a. unanimous episcopate, 
and if a priest has yielded he is one whose proper 
place was never in the ministry of Christ's Church. 
France has merited its Iniiidred-fold. When Christ 
on the high mountain told Satan to begone, angels 
came and ministered unto Ilim. We are now wait- 
ing to see what angel God will send to minister unto 
His followers who have spurned the lying offers of 
Satan's imitators. The day of triumph is as sure in 
the future as the day of suffering is in the past. 


Sails from Havre. — Incidents of the Voyage.— Arrival at 
New York. — Bishop Dubois.— On to Cincinnati.— Appointed 
to Tiffin.— Life on the Missions.— Hardships and Consolations. 

The voyage lasted longer than they had antici- 
pated, but the time did not lie heavily upon the hands 
of those who were able to make use of it. There were 
the inevitable inconveniences of seasickness, the usual 
amount of weariness of the sea, and the rejoicing at 
the sight of land, which are natural for those who 
''go down to the sea in ships," especially for the first 
time. Father Machebeuf leaves us a fair account of 
the voyage, and although in outline it resembles all 
sea voyages, there are in it details such as never 
would be dreamed of by the passengers on one of our 
modern ocean greyhounds. The letter begins after a 
month 's experience of the sea and ends with their ar- 
rival in New York. With the omission of some 
minor details and family matters, it is as follows : 

On Board the Sylvie de Grasse, 
August 8, 1839. 
Very Dear Papa: 

As I know that you are growing anxious waiting for news 
from us, I sit down to prepare a letter to send you as soon as 
we arrive in New York. 

Our departure from Havre, which was set for the 8th of 
July, did not take place until the 9th, owing to bad weather on 
Monday. On Tuesday morning at eight o'clock we went on 
board, and at nine, after all farewells were said, the sailors 
intoned the parting hymn and we passed out of the port in the 
sight of a curious gazing multitude of people who throng the 


quay whenever a ship sails. The weather was very fine, but a 
strong wind was blowing against us, and we were obliged to 
have the help of a steamboat, which goes in spite of the wind. 
After a little while the wind changed somewhat in our favor, 
so that we were able to go alone, and soon we were upon the 
open sea. 

It was towards evening before we lost sight of laud, and 
then we began to make the acquaintance of the other passen- 
gers. We found that we were almost entirely surrounded by 
Protestants. About sixty passengers are in our part of the 
ship, and the majority of these are Protestants. There are 
several young men and women among them from New York 
who are returning home after finishing their education in Paris. 
New York is the port where we will debark. Others are mer- 
chants or men of means, who are going to locate in America. 
Among these last we have made the acquaintance of a Catholic 
gentleman and lady from Belo-ium, who are going to make their 
home in Cincinnati. 

In the other part of the vessel there are nearly two hundred 
Germans — men, women and children, a few of whom are mer- 
chants, and the rest are of the peasant-fanner class. Among 
the Germans there are a few Catholics, a great many Protest- 
ants, and about forty Jews. This is but a sample of the incred- 
ible number of immigrants who are arriving in the United 
States from all parts. Judge for yourself, then, if priests are 
not necessary, both to sustain the faith of Catholics and to 
bring back the heretics. 

These poor Germans are all lodged in one room, which be- 
comes dining-room, sitting-room and sleeping-room, according 
to the needs of the moment. I have only looked into it over 
the partition which separates it from the quarters of the sailors, 
and the infection which exhaled from it forced me back in a 
hurry. Yet they seem to be all very healthy. They pay 150 
francs apiece and are obliged to board themselves. The Cap- 
tain furnishes them only with wood and water. 

As for us, our position is quite different, and I must 
frankly say that we are treated too well for missionaries. The 
Bishop was directed to place us at the Captain's table so as to 
insure proper respect for our character and not to have us 
mixed up with the motley crowd, most of whom are without 
any education. Everything is abundant upon our table — fresh 
mutton, fowl, foreign wines, quantities of oranges, fresh bread 
every day. milk, butter, in fact everything of the best that one 
might find at a hotel in Paris. Yet in the midst of all this 


abundance there is nothing that we eat with greater relish than 
potatoes, which are served with every meal. 

As for lodging, j'oii can imagine that we are not very much 
at large. We are six in the same room. The sixth is a Francis- 
can Father from Bavaria. The room is completely hung with 
beds and looks like a fruitstand with its many shelves. There 
are two beds on each of its three sides, one above the other, 
and he who has the lower one can hardly sit up in bed. 

And now after making you acquainted with the ship and 
the passengers, I am going to tell you what has happened since 
our departure. The first few days were spent by many of us 
in bed. As for myself, I was among the fortunate ones, and 
was not compelled to stay in bed a qi;arter of an hour longer 
than usual. I escaped with no greater penalty than a few 
restitutions. I did not even lose my regular appetite, and while 
my companions were merely picking at a few dainties, I was man- 
aging things about the same as upon land. Thus, you see that 
I would have made a good member of the navy. 

The indisposition of the sick did not last long. The one 
who was nearest to death was compere Cheymol. He was so 
weak that he thought he must die, and he Avas continually mak- 
ing his act of contrition and recommending his soul to God. 
On the foi;rth day I took him by the arm and made him get up 
almost in spite of himself, and when he was on deck he felt so 
much better that he thanked me for forcing him to get out of 
his ''box." Bishop Pureell and Father Gacon were sick only 
three or four days, but that was not the case with Father Lamy, 
who was not strong when we sailed. He was sick nearly three 

With Bishop Flaget it was really wonderful. He never 
experienced the slightest indisposition — at least, he never 
showed that he did. He was always pleasant and cheerful. 
Eveiy morning he was the first to get up and go to perform his 
devotions in the little saloon on the deck. I cannot tell you 
how long he prays, for it seems that he is praying or reading 
some pious book all day long. How could it be possible for any 
stonns to come upon us while we had such a holy man on our 
ship? He was the last one, also, to whom we should expect 
anything to happen, but God did permit a little accident to 
befall him, no doubt, to give us an occasion to admire his pa- 
tience and mortification. 

On the second Sunday of the voj^age he was walking upon 
deck, when suddenly a heavj'^ beam rolled and stiiick one of 
his limbs. It made a bad bruise, which must have been very 


painful, but the holy Bishop lost noue of his ordinary cheerful- 
ness, and when anyone asked him how he felt he would answer 
with sweetness: "How can I complain when I think of all that 
God has suffered for me?" No serious results followed, thanks 
to the careful attendance of the ship's doctor. 

I must tell you that the same Sunday I had an experience 
with danger myself. I was sitting on the deck with Father 
Cheymol, trying to read English, when a rope broke over our 
heads and an enormous block, bound with iron, fell within 
three or four feet of us. The big rope, falling more than forty 
feet, came down upon my leg. One end of it struck Father 
Cheymol on the head, but his cap saved him from being hurt, 
but my leg began immediately to swell and was verj' painful 
for two days. I am perfectly well now and I thank God from 
the bottom of my heart for hiiving presen-ed me in such danger, 
for, as one of the passengers said, a few feet more and my 
mission would have been ended. 

''Land! Land!" called out the Captain this morning, and 
the cry was taken up by all the passengers, almost beside them- 
selves with joy. Spyglasses and telescopes were brought into 
use upon all sides, but I tried all of them and could see nothing, 
not having, I suppose, good sea eyes. This evening we see it 
plainly, and can distinguish perfectly the country houses along 
the shore, the farms, forts, woods, lighthouses, telegraphs, etc. 
The bay is magnificent, and we are beginning to see the spires 
of the city. The forest of masts from the numerous vessels is 

Now our ship is at anchor and we are going to board a 
steamer to take us to land. The j>oor Germans must stay on 
the ship two days to wash and clean up. They have sad 
need of it ! 

God be a thousand times blessed! We are all now in New- 
York, in good health, after forty-four days of navigation, 
August 21, 1839. 

We have been to pay our respects to the Bishop of New- 
York, who is a Frenchman, and he received us most kindly. We 
have also found here two gentlemen who were waiting for us. 
and who will go to Cincinnati with us. We hope to start for- 
ward tomorrow. 

Receive, very dear Papa, the embraces of your most devoted 
and most affectionate son, and say a thousand good things for 
me to my aunt, my sister and my brother. 

Ever vours, etc.. 


We shall find that Father Machebeuf was a good 
letter writer. He was then young, and everything 
he met with was a new experience. His friends were 
interested in him, and as curious to know his expe- 
riences as he was willing to write them. He was 
aware of the wonder with which they would read in 
France of the things in America, so different from 
what they had ever seen, and hence, that great wealth 
of detail in all his correspondence. The situation, 
also, was new to himself, and he noticed many things 
as strange and unusual, such, for instance, as to find 
himself in the company of so many Protestants and 
Jews when on the boat. It was a good thing that all 
these conditions were combined here, for they re- 
sulted in leaving us a running history of his life and 
work which is absolutely true, and which nothing else 
could supply. 

Th.e stay of the party in New York may have 
been a little longer than Father Machebeuf antici- 
pated, for Bishop Purcell was with his old teacher. 
Bishop Dubois, and his old teacher was in trouble. 
Bishop Dubois was very old, and the troubles arising 
from the lay trustee system had seriously affected 
his mental and physical faculties. The administra- 
tion of the diocese had just been intrusted to his co- 
adjutor, Bishop Hughes, and the aged prelate 
thought that this was a reflection upon his own abil- 
ity and integrity. He was inclined to resist and 
make things unpleasant for the administrator, but, 
a writer says: ^' There fortunately happened to be 
another Bishop in New York just then, who had been 


one of Bishop Dubois' favorite pupils. The old man 

loved him as a dear son. Bishop threw 

himself on his knees before Dr. Dubois. He re- 
minded him of his age and infirmity. He pointed out 
how the diocese was sufferinp; for the want of a 
young, energetic, fearless governor, who could exer- 
cise a personal supervision over its remotest parts. 
He begged of him to submit promptly and patiently 
to the will of the Sovereign Pontiff. His words were 
not in vain. The momentary outbreak of human na- 
ture was repressed by the influence of divine grace, 
and Bishop Dubois yielded up his authority with the 
most exemplary meekness. ' ' 

Ten years before, Bishop Dubois deplored a like 
resistance on the part of the Bishop of Philadelphia, 
and counseled submission when the administration 
of the diocese was placed in other hands, and years 
afterwards Bisho]i Purcell saw a coadjutor come and 
take hold of his own affairs, almost ho])elessly entan- 
gled, though by no fault of his except his over-confi- 
dence in others. 

The easiest and quickest mode of travel from 
New York to Cincinnati in those days was very labor- 
ious and very slow. There were no railroads, and 
many traveled by wagon or on horseback. The most 
rapid means were by canals and stage coaches. 
Having no conveyances of his own. Bishop Purcell 
chose these latter for himself and party, and arrived 
without accident at Cincinnati about the 10th of Sep- 

One would naturally suppose that the learning 


of the language of the country would be the first task 
laid before our new missionaries. This would prob- 
ably be the case in our day, but at that time Ohio was 
being settled rapidly, and there was urgent need of 
priests to minister to the wants of the growing Cath- 
olic population. This state of things did not permit 
the new priests to pass through any training school, 
nor those of a foreign tongue to become proficient in 
English before starting out on the work of the mis- 
sions. Neither was such a course absolutely neces- 
sary. The people were clamoring for the bread of 
life, and they cared not whether he who broke it to 
them was a countryman of their own, speaking their 
language fluently, or a stranger speaking little but a 
strange tongue, as long as he was a priest of G-od. 
In the midst of their work the stranger priests 
learned the language of the people to whom they 
ministered, and no one today thinks the less of those 
zealous and sainted missionaries of early times be- 
cause of their imperfect speech and quaint expres- 
sions, carried with them to the day of their death. 

Bishop Purcell began at once to arrange for the 
placing of his new recruits, and within three weeks 
after his arrival in Cincinnati Father Machebeuf was 
on his way to Tiffin, in the northern part of the state, 
there to begin his labors as a missionary. This was 
his entrance upon a species of work for which he 
seemed to be eminently fitted by nature, and which 
really made up the burden of his subsequent life. 
Missionary work was the principal occupation of all 
his after years, and he ceased it only when he laid 


down his life fifty years later as a missionary bishoj*. 

Ju Europe the idea of a young priest being sent 
out alone, or given the charge of a congregation, Is 
beyond thought. Wlien the friends of Father 
Machebeuf heard that Bishop Purcell had, almost 
upon his arrival in Ohio, sent him to a mission iu the 
interior ])art of the state, their wonder was great and 
was not unmixed with indignation. 

Father Machebeuf wrote to them, telling them 
of his appointment, but through some delay, he did 
not receive their letters promptly, and it was only at 
the beginning of the next year that he learned of their 
feelings, and was able to explain the conditions which 
justified the Bishop in thus putting them so early 
into the harness. This letter, and many of the suc- 
ceeding ones, gives a picture of Ohio which no his- 
torian, writing at the present day, could paint with 
anything like equal exactitude and liveliness: 

Tiffin, Ohio, Januai-y 24. 1840. 
Very Dear Papa : 

I have just received my sister's letter, dated the 25th of 
November. To say that it caused me the greatest pleasure 
would be useless, for it broug'ht me the first news that I have 
had of you, and you may imagine that I was anxious to hear 
how you have all been since I left France. I did not receive 
the letter which she told me she wrote in September. 

It seems that everybody was astonished because the Bishop 
sent us out so soon to our different congregations. I saw by 
the enclosure from my brother that you were almost angry with 
him, but I cannot understand why anyone should become 
alarmed in advance without knowing our position. 

Well, to prove to you that the Bishop sought only our 
greater good in eveiy respect in sending us out immediately, 1 
have only to tell you that it would have been impossible for me 
to become accustomed to America if I had remained raueli 
longer at the Seminary. I was there but three weeks, and was 


sick nearl}^ fifteen days of that time. There was no one to 
teach us English. All the priests there were so busy with their 
classes, and with the exercise of the ministry, that a few 
moments after dinner were all that could be given to us. The 
Bishop himself was overwhelmed with business and visitors all 
day long, and it often happened that his room was filled with 
callers while he was taking his meals. You see, then, that left 
to ourselves, without anj^thing special to do, and not knowing 
the language of the countiy, our stay in Cincinnati was in 
danger of growing very tiresome, and I can assure you that it 
was with great satisfaction that we received the news of our 
early appointment to the missions. 

As you know, I have been sent to Tiffin. I came here with 
an Irish priest who is older than I am, but he was ordained 
only last Pentecost. He has been eight years in America, and 
before his ordination he was prefect at the college in Cincinnati. 
It was there that I made his acquaintance, and our dispositions 
seemed to agree so well that we both hoped we might be sent to 
the same parish, or congregation as they call it here. The 
longer I live with him the more occasion I find to admire his 
beautiful character. He has shown a great deal of zeal and 
patience, especially in teaching me English, and I am beginning 
to Lisp it a little under his instructions. We live together like 
real brothers, with everything in common — books, purse, etc. — 
and there is neither pastor nor assistant, but each one does the 
best he can in his own way. I ■wish that you could be witness 
of the happy moments which we spend together beside a good 
warm fire when, after returning from our missions, we chat 
together and relate our little adventures. But I must give yoii 
a few details of my ministerial work. 

The climate and the manner of life which we lead here 
have agreed well with me up to the present, and I assure j^ou 
that I was never in better health than I am now. When Bishop 
Purcell came to Tiffin a month ago, he said to me: "Oh, how 
fat you have grown I ' ' and I have not lost any flesh since then, 
so you can be perfectly at ease on the subject of my health. It 
is as good as it possibly could be. 

I think I told you that we are obliged to travel about al- 
most continually to visit our Catholics, and our congi-egation 
is increasing every day. About thirty-five miles from here 
there is a priest who speaks German, French and English. The 
first thing he said to me when I met him, was to ask me if I 
would take charge of his parish, as he had received orders from 
his superior to go to another diocese. He belongs to the Con- 


grregation of the Redemptorists. I told him that a French priest 
amonc; the Germans, who compose almost his entire confrveija- 
tion, would likely be of little use, but in case that he must go, 
we were willing to try, and one or the other of us would go 
once a month to say mass at the church on Sunday, and we 
could visit the Catholics of the vicinity the week following. 
The hundred miles that we had to travel ever>' month are thus 
increased to a hundred and eighty, and so it must remain until 
the Bishop can send another priest in his place. We have to 
say mass in the capitals of eight or nine counties, and each 
county is as large as a department in France. 

Thus, you see, I have something to satisfy the desire I al- 
ways had for traveling, j'et, during the four months that I have 
been in America, I have not gone on foot as much as I formerly 
did in a week when I went from Cendre to Orcet and back. 

The last time I went to see this German priest I bought his 
beautiful horse, with the buggy and harness, all for $100. I 
paid part of it, and we will pay the balance when we can. All 
of the missionaries are not so well provided as we are, and we 
have no reason to complain. 

I must tell you about our dress. At home we wear the 
cassock as much as possible, but on the streets, or when we go 
on the missions, we w^ear a frock coat, waistcoat and trousers, 
with a black cravat, and every one recognizes us as Catholic 
priests just the same as in France when we wore the cassock 
and three-cornered hat all the time. When visiting the settle- 
ments in the woods, where most of them are, we wear our old 
clothes, but we dress a little better in town so as not to give 
occasion to disrespectful comment, which might be made by the 
Protestants if they were to see a Catholic priest shabbily 

For the missions we have a kind of portmanteau in the 
shape of a long bag, in which we put the vestments, the chalice, 
and everything necessary for saying mass. These things are 
small for greater convenience in traveling, and we lock them 
up in the bag, which is then thrown across the saddle and is 
therefore called saddle-bags. We have, also, a light four- 
wheeled, open wagon, which is very comfortable and saves 
fatigue. Today, after a journey of thirty or forty miles, I am 
less tired than I would be in France after a couple of leagues. 
When, in our journeyings, we come to the house where we are 
going to say mass, one of the children will hiirrv off to notify 
the nearest neighbor, who in turn will notify the next one, and 
so on until all the Catholics know that the priest has come. 


Scarcely do we have time to get a bite to eat before the 
people begin to come— some of them to get acquainted and to 
talk to us, and some of them to go to confession, but so manj' 
of them are Germans that the task is not easy. My work so 
far has been mostly among the French, of whom there is a set- 
tlement about twenty-five miles from here, but I have begun 
to hear a few confessions in English. The nest morning again 
we have to hear confessions, sometimes until eleven o'clock, 
when we say mass. At the mass we must always give an in- 
struction or they would not be satisfied. At first I was 
obliged to preach by my silence, but for a month past I have 
been trying to say a few words as little imperfectly as possible. 
Last Sunday— the feast of the Holy Name — I was alone at 
Tiffin. I read the Gospel and some prayers in English, and 
gave them a short instruction on the feast, and, although I could 
not say much more than to tell them, as we tell little children, 
to be real good, they were quite pleased to hear me begin to 
speak their language. 

After mass we baptize the children, and sometimes grown 
persons also. Thus, last Wednesday I baptized an American 
lady whose parents did not profess any religion. She was the 
wife of a French Canadian who had taught her the prayers and 
made her understand a little of the Catholic religion, and in- 
spired her with a strong desire to be baptized. So anxious was 
she for baptism, that when I put the question of the ceremonial : 
"Do you wish to be baptized?" she answered with an eagerness 
which touched all present: "Yes, I wish it with all my heart!" 
Her brother, who was baptized two years ago, came to assist at 
the ceremonj', and he went to confession before going away. 

These are thing's which console and recompense us for the 
long journeys we have to make to visit our Catholics. I assure 
you that I have found many very edifying things on these visits 
— such, for instance, as when elderly and highly respectable ap- 
pearing people come to throw themselves on their knees before 
a young priest to ask his blessing ! 

When we call upon a Catholic family for the first time they 
hardly know how to receive us. Their conveniences for re- 
ceiving visitors are limited, and they think the priest is some 
extraordinary person who should not put up with ordinary 
things. Their hearts are good far beyond their means, but we 
pi;t them at their ease, and after the first ^dsit there is no 
more embarrassment. 

As for the food, I have been around on the missions about 
ten times, and it happened only once or twice that I did not 


have more than the strict necessaries. Generally there is plenty 
and to spare. The beds are sometimes very good, and some- 
times only passable, but I never lost any sleep on that account, 
especially after a lonjr journey. But, lest you should accuse me 
of tellin<r you only half of the truth, and of hiding our hard- 
ships from you. I am going to say a few words about our little 

In the first place, it is extremely cold here in January and 
February. To give you an idea of it, last week, with another 
priest, I was at the house of an Irishman away almost at the 
extremity of the diocese near the shore of Lake Erie. I was 
writing near the fire, with my inkstand in front of the fire, and 
as fast as I took the ink it froze on my pen, and I was obliged 
to break the ice in the bottle several times with my penknife. 
On my journeys I must often run beside my horse to get warm, 
but so far I have not felt the cold very much except in my 
hands and feet. 

Before leaving Clermont we bought some heavy cloth, such 
as the mountaineers there use, and at Paris we had it dyed black 
and made into cloaks, lined again with black cashmere. Then 
we have knit jackets, woolen underwear, stockings, etc., and fur 
overshoes. When thus equipped we do not fear either the cold, 
the snow or the wind. After the heavy rains, in certain parts 
of the country where there are swamps, the roads are bad, 
especially in springtime. The most disagreeable time for trav- 
eling is when the north wind blows from Lake Erie. Some- 
times I am obliged to cover up my face altogether, else I could 
not breathe, the wind is so strong and icy. 

But if we have to suffer a little we are amply recompensed 
by the consolation of seeing the faith, the eagerness and the 
devotion of the greater part of our Catholics, and, above all, 
by the grace of our state which the good God gives us. And 
now that I see for myself all the good that a priest can do here, 
and note the good dispositions of most of the Protestants, I de- 
clare to you that, for all the gold in the world, I would not 
return to Europe to live there, and my companions are in the 
same dispo.sition as myself. 

You ask me if I see my companions often ? I must answer 
like the Gascon — I see them every time that I find an occasion, 
but I au) still on the lookout for the first occasion. Father 
Lamy is the nearest to me, and he is eighty miles away. So far 
I have seen only their names at the bottom of their letters, but 
the retreat, which will be given at the beginning of Lent, will 
bring us the pleasure of being all together again at Cincinnati. 


You ask me for details. I think I have given you enough 
of them for the present. Be perfectly at rest upon the subject 
of my position here— I am happier than you think. 

Remembrances, etc. 

In further explanation of some of the points of 
this letter it may be stated, that the Irish priest who 
was the co-laborer of Father Machebeuf at Tiffin 
was the Rev. Joseph McNamee. His health was 
never very good, and most of the outside mission 
work fell to Father Machebeuf. Father McNamee 
left Ohio in 1847, and died at Pawtucket, R. I., in 

Father Tschenhens, C. SS. R., was the German 
priest thirty-five miles from Tiffin, at Norwalk and 
Peini. He was one of the first Redemptorists to come 
to America. He went to Pittsburg as superior of the 
Redemptorists there, but returned to Ohio for a 
short time in 1841. He died in Baltimore in 1877. 

The force of Father Machebeuf 's remarks about 
his dress will be better seen when we remember that 
in France the priests always, even in traveling, wear 
the cassock, and never appear in civilian dress. 
When bishops and priests from America go to 
France, unless they put on the clerical garb, they are 
not recognized as Catholic clergymen, although they 
are sometimes set down as Protestant ministers. 

The companions of whom Father Machebeuf 
speaks were the priests who came from France with 
him, and these were already doing duty in missions 
similar to his own. Father Lamy was at Danville in 


Kjiox county, P^'atliers Gacon and Clieymol were at 
Fayetteville in Brown county, and Father Navaron 
was in Clermont county. All of them did good work 
and were greatly beloved by their flocks. 


Ohio Apostles.— The Work of One Week.— First Englisk 
Sermon.— Lost in the Woods. — A Di-ive on the lee. — A Good 
Hotel-keeper. — A Convert. — A Frisky Horse.— Reported Dead. 
A Primitive Court.— A Condemned Murderer. — A Prayer 

When our Divine Lord sent the Disciples to 
preach the Gospel in Judea, He sent them without 
staff or scrip, or bread or money, neither should they 
have two coats. He told them to go, and at the house 
where they would be received, to enter and remain 
there, eating and drinking what would be set before 

If we change the name of the place from Judea 
to America, and the persons from Disciples to mis- 
sionaries, we will have a good idea of the position of 
the first priests in the missions of Ohio. It is proba- 
ble that the lives and work of all the heralds of the 
faith since the beginning of Christianity have had a 
common general resemblance, and differed only in 
the details. It is these details which make up the indi- 
vidual history of each one, and they are drawn from 
the times, the place, the living surroundings and the 
general dispositions of the missionary. Fortunately 
Father Machebeuf was apt at description, and while 
the situation was new to him he spoke freely of his 

A few days after writing the foregoing letter he 
received the missing letter from his sister, and its 
answer is full of items of news and description which 


today make it read like a romance even among the 
pioneers. The conditions, as then existing, can 
hardly be gras])ed as real by those now living in that 
once wild section of Ohio. It is a long answer, but 
we are glad of that for the information which it 
gives : 

Tiffin, February 14, 1840. 
Very Dear Sister: 

At last I have received your letter of Sept. 20. A fort- 
night ago as I was passing- the postoffice I went in to see if 
there might not be some letters for me, and you can imagine 
how agreeably surprised I was to find Ihere the letter for which 
I was so long waiting. It must have met a good many storms 
while crossing the sea, for I saw by the postmark that it left 
France on the 27th of September and did not reach New York 
until the 17th of January. It gave me the more pleasure because 
I had waited so long for it. I was very much moved by the 
affection which so many persons wished to testify for me, and 
I have read and re-read it with an almost infinite pleasure, and 
each time the tears would como as I saw it signed by so many 
who are dear to me. 

In order to give you a just idea of our missions I am going 
to tell you in detail what has occurred since I wrote to my 

The 1st of February, a Saturday, J spent part of the day 
trj'ing to prepare an instruction in English for the feast of the 
Purification. In order to get it done the sooner, I pillaged, as 
we used to say it at the Seminary, all the English books I could 
find, yet in spite of this precaution I had it only about half fin- 
ished when night came. I was obliged to leave it so, and as I 
was about to put some closing touches on this masterpiece of 
English literature, I was interrupted by the arrival of a young 
Lutheran, who came to be instructed in the Catholic religion. You 
may be sure that I laid aside my sermon in a hurry and hastened 
to give him all the necessary explanations (he best way I could. 
I was jdeased to find that he was well instinicted upon many 
points, for he was well educated, and had seen my confrere sev- 
eral times, and. besides, he had been reading some Calliolic 
books ver^' carefully by himself. He stayed until half-past 
nine, but the conversation was so interesting that the time did 
not seem so long. He was very friendly, and before going he 


said that he wished to make his retractation the following day. 
I put him off for another week to tiy him further, and also for 
the reason that I did not yet dare undertake to hear his general 
confession. After he went away I let my sermon go, but said 
my office and prayers and went to bed ''right straight," as the 
Abbe Onzon used to saj'. 

The next morning, as it was known that I had begun to hear 
confessions in English, I saw a number of persons waiting at 
the door of the church. I began at eight o'clock and was kept 
busy until eleven, when I began the high mass. First came the 
blessing of the candles— not such candles as you have, but can- 
dles made here by the Catholics themselves. So far everything 
was easy and continued so as long as I had the book to read 
from, but when it came to speaking English without a book — 
that was another affair. Howevei-, I pulled thi'ough better 
than I expected. I said about all I had written, and then 
I reached out right and left for something more, and scolded 
them for not teaching their children their prayers, and finally, 
when I could find no more to say, I did as the Abbe Faure did 
when he was at the Seminary. He was preaching to us on the 
crosses and miseries of life, and losing himself in the middle of 
his sermon, he ended by saying: "My brethren, to shorten your 
miseries and my own, I will now close by wishing you everlast- 
ing life." I had one almost infinite pleasure, however, and 
that was to give communion to about a dozen persons whose 
confessions I had heard in English. This was the first time 
that I heard confessions in English in our home church. 

The music was very well rendered at the mass, but the 
choir outdid itself at vespers. The only music teacher in the 
town is a German Catholic. He plays upon almost every in- 
strument, and his daughter sings for us with several others of 
the young people of the place. Such was my Sunday work. 

Monday morning I took our little wagon and started to 
visit a new congregation of twelve French and Irish families 
and two or three Germans. I discovered them by chance about 
a month ago. They had not seen a priest for eight years, and 
there was one young French girl among them who had never 
seen a priest before. 

In the evening when I came near the place where the family 
lives with whom I was going to stay, I did not know the way 
any farther, so I left the main road and drove to the house of 
a German Lutheran to inquire the road. He directed me to a 
little road running through the woods, which I followed until 
it became so little that it disappeared altogether. There I 


found myself in the midst of trees and brush without the pos- 
sibility of going any farther. I then tied my horse to a tree 
and started on foot to find a way out of my difficulty. I had 
been at the house before, but I had come in by another road, 
and now I was at a loss to locate it exactly. I first went to the 
right and then to the left, but without success. Finally I saw 
a light in the distance, and I thought I would go and make fur- 
ther inquiries. To reach it I was obliged to climb several 
fences and cross fields, and when I came to it, it was the house 
of the German who had given me my first directions. This 
time his son came with me to show me the way, but another 
difficulty arose here, for in the darkness I did not know where 
to find my horse. At last, with the help of the light from the 
snow, we found him, and my kind guide did not leave me until 
he brought me to the house for which I had been searching. 
This is a sample of our little adventures, and they furnish us 
good subjects of conversation in our recreations at home. 

On Tuesday I heard confessions and said mass at the 
house of a lady whose husband had died a short time before. 
After mass I heard her speak of removing the body of her 
husband to a Catholic cemetery, and I remarked that it would 
be better to build a chapel for the little congregation and have 
a cemetery of their own. She was so jileased with the sugges- 
tion that she offered to donate the ground and furnish all the 
timber for the chapel. I took her at her word, and calling 
together all those who had not gone away, I dreAv up a sub- 
scription paper which everyone generously signed, and ar- 
rangements were made for beginning the chapel next week. I 
myself chose the best location I could find for it — a place on a 
little knoll near the high road. 

After dinner I wont eight miles farther to visit an Irish 
settlement, and they all went to confession, men, women and 
children, except one man, and I hope to have him the next time. 

Wednesday I said mass in a house which poverty made a 
good representation of the Stable of Bethlehem. There I 
blessed the union of a French couple who had been married 
civilly two years before and had not been able to find a priest 
since that time. 

In the evening I left there to go to Sandusky City, and 
this is tlie way I took. Between the Ii-ish congregation and 
the town there is a lake about four miles wide. The ice was so 
strong that one could drive over it the same as upon land. I 
know you will say that I was imprudent, but I was not the only 
one. Ahead of me there were three men in a wagon drawn by 


two big hoi'ses, and this was the second time for them to make 
the trip that same daj'. I never had such a pleasant drive in 
my life. In the middle of the lake I had the pleasure of seeing 
a boat going upon the ice faster than ever it could go upon 
water. It had triangailar sails and was set upon three skates, 
or iron runners, about a foot long, and it went by the force of 
the wind. 

At Sandusky City I put up with an American, a Protestant, 
but one who has great respect for the Catholic priests. He 
keeps the best hotel by far in the place. The first time that I 
stayed at his house with my confrere he would not take any- 
thing from us, but told us alwaj's to come and stay with him. 
The second time he received me, not like a stranger, but like a 
son, and the next day, when I had not finished my work at noon, 
he kept the whole family waiting for dinner until one o'clock. I 
was really embarrassed by all the attentions he showed me. I 
made him a present of a book of controversy between Bishop 
Purcell and a Protestant minister, and he was enchanted 
with it. 

Thursday morning I was kept busy with confessions, mass, 
etc., and in the afternoon with baptisms and visits. On Friday 
I set out for the other Sandusky, thirty miles away, where I 
found my confrere faithful to the rendezvous for which we had 
arranged. He was coming from a trip of three weeks on a 
mission a hundred miles from Tiffin. 

On Saturday morning he went home so as to be at Tiffin for 
mass on Sunday, and I went to a parish about thirtj' miles 
away where the priest, a German, had left the diocese. There 
they were anxiously expecting the priest, and when I arrived I 
found the table set and an excellent supper ready for me. I 
did honor to the cook, who, I may say by Avay of parenthesis, 
is to come and be our cook. 

On Sunday morning I heard confessions in English, and 
also in German by means of an interpreter, for I have not yet 
the gift of tongues. Perhaps you did not pray hard for me, 
as I asked you to do when I wrote to you. 

As most of the people there understand Englisli I thought 
I would preach to them, so I brought out my miserable little 
instruction of the previous Sunday, after having given it again 
at Sandusky City. It is a great help for us to be able to give 
the same instruction at different places. 

On Mondaj^ I went to the house of a German about half 
way on the road to Tiffin, where I said mass the following 
morning in a chapel which they had built in the middle of the 


woods, after which I continued my journey and arrived at 
Tiffin in perfect health. 

The next day, Wednesday, the young Lutheran made his 
retractation in the presence of several persons, and I baptized 
him conditionally. We were all greatly edified at his faith, 
piety and recollection. The same evening I started again for 
a little town ten miles away in an adjoining county. I re- 
turned yesterday feeling quite well, but after another little 
adventure which I must relate to you. 

On the Avay my feet wei-e cold, and I thought I would get 
off my horse and walk a while to warm them. I do not know 
whether it was the umbrella they gave me against the snow that 
fj-ightened him, or that he took a notion to warm his own feet, 
but anyway, he kicked up his heels and started off at a gallop. 
I could not hold him, and there I was, then, I'unning after my 
horse, and he disappearing over a hill. My feet were warai 
long before I had any other news of him than his tracks in the 
snow, but finally, as I came to the top of a hill, I saw a young 
man leading him back to me by the bridle. I rewarded the 
young man for the service he had rendered me, and remount- 
ing, I continued my journey with my body and feet thoroughly 
warmed up. 

Today, I have no need to tell you, after my necessary work 
all my time is employed in writing this letter. You will not 
complain that I do not give you plenty of details. I have 
chosen the largest sheet of paper that I could find, and I shall 
not stop as long as I have any space to fill. 

Sunday there will be no mass here, as I start tomorrow to 
go and say mass at Lower Sandusky. That is my particular 
parish, for there are a great many French in the town and 
around about it. I expect to be gone about eight days. 

A short time ago I went out to see a farm of eighty acres 
which belongs to Bishop Purcell. It is five miles from here on 
a good road, but in the middle of the woods. We have the 
benefit of it, and get some hay, corn, etc., from it. but it does 
not produce much because it is not well tilled. 

Before long we shall go to the retreat, and after my return 
I shall write a long letter to Mr. Molhon. In the meanwhile 
pray for me, as I do every day for you and the whole family. 
Many kind things to our dear Papa, our aunt and our little 
brother. Tell them not to worry about me. I am surrounded 
by friends, not only among the .Catholics, but also among the 

In my last letter I forgot to ask for at least two sets of 


the Stations of the Cross — one as large and fine as possible, for 
the new and beautiful church at Lower Sandusky which we are 
going to begin building in the spring, and the other such as it 
may be; it is for another little chapel now nearly finished. 
Adieu, etc. 

An examination of the map of eight or nine 
counties within a circle centering at Tiffin will give 
us a fair idea of the territory under the charge of 
Fathers McNamee and Machebeuf. In all proba- 
bility the bishop of the diocese could not, without 
actual count, tell within a score the number of priests 
working there today. To be sure, it was not popu- 
lated then as now, but that it was being rapidly set- 
tled up is seen from the fact that our missionaries 
said mass every day in different settlements, and 
considerable numbers always attended the holy sacri- 
fice. Not a day need have been missed if human en- 
durance could have borne the strain, and then the 
people would be lacking in all but the essentials. 

In this immense district Tiffin was but the rally- 
ing point, to which the missionaries returned from 
their labors only to get breath for another run 
through the missions. Then, there were the sick 
calls in every direction, and funerals to attend, and 
again the race back to meet their appointments. 
Chapels and churches must also be built, and in these 
days, as in our own, little was done in that way unless 
the priest was there to provide the means and direct 
the construction. 

Distance, bad weather, the lack of roads, etc., 
were words not found in their dictionary of excuses. 
They probably had no such book, or kept it locked 


away in some secret drawer, for their lives seem to 
have been ordered according to a far different book 
where every chapter was lieaded: "For the greater 
glory of God and the salvation of souls." 

Father Machebeuf 's letters show that the people 
were well attended and the trials of the missionaries 
in these fatiguing and ever recurring journeys were 
only ordinary events, just furnishing "good subjects 
of conversation in their recreations at home," 

Here was the true missionary spirit, the spirit of 
the Great Apostle who tells his beloved Corinthians : 
"You are in our hearts to die together and to live 
together. Great is niy confidence with you, great is 
my glorying for you, I am filled with comfort, I ex- 
ceedingly abound with joy in our tribuhitions." 

The work of Father Machebeuf is not all 
summed up in the foregoing letters, neither are the 
hardships all told. Wliile on one of his missionaiy 
trips he had an attack of malarial fever. Later the 
dread cholera came, and rumors of his death reached 
his friends. At this news Father Lamy hastened 
upon the sad mission of giving Christian burial to his 
remains, but was greatly astonished, and wonder- 
fully pleased, to find his friend in life and upon the 
road towards recovery, although still very weak. Of 
this episode Father Machebeuf could afterwards, and 
often did, make a pleasant subject of conversation in 
his recreations. It also gave Father Rappe the occa- 
sion of calling him the Deceiver of Death — (Trompe- 

Some additional lines to the picture of his life 


during this time are given in a brief account which 
he wrote years afterwards, and from which the fol- 
lowing extracts are taken : 

In the beginning of November, 1839, I visited for the first 
time the Irish laborers working on the National, or macada- 
mized, road, then being built through the Black Swamp from 
Fremont— at that time Lower Sandusky — to Perrysburg on the 
Maumee river. I was at Lower Sandusky, where I received 
kind hospitality from Mrs. Dickinson and Mrs. Rawson, two 
very respectable French ladies man-ied to Protestant gentle- 
men, when I learned that a good number of Canadian farmers 
had settled on Mud Creek, nine or ten miles down the river. I 
went there immediately and found over thirty families, mostly 
from Detroit and Monroe, Mich. During the few days I spent 
v/ith them I had the consolation of seeing all of them approach 
the sacraments in the best dispositions. A good widow lady 
gave a beautiful site for a chapel on the banks of the river, and 
to make a beginning, I appointed some pious ladies to teach 
the catechism on Sundays and a few days during the week, and 
I promised to visit them every month. To facilitate the keep- 
ing of my promise I bought a Canadian pony, on credit, and 
borrowed a saddle. Thus equipped, I returned to Lower San- 
dusky, where I rested a day and then began the long and tedious 
journey thi'ough the Black Swamp to the Maumee river. 

The National Road was graded and partly macadamized, 
but it was very rough, and I traveled only a few miles a day. 
The first day I had gone only five or six miles when I came 
upon a party of good Irishmen working upon the road. They 
recognized me as a priest, and asked me to go to a large log 
cabin at some distance to attend a sick man. It was in No- 
vember, and while I was warming myself, my pony was put in 
a stable and another cabin was got ready for me. I found that 
there was no sick man, but that they had perpetrated this 
pious fraud to keep me for the next day, which was Sunday. 

I made no objection to the aiTangement, for it suited me 
very well, so on Sunday I set up my little altar and said mass 
and ventured to say a few words to them in English. After 
mass I had four or five children to baptize, and the genei'ous 
men were so thankful for the privilege of hearing mass in that 
wild country and of having their children baptized that they 
gave me almost enough money to pay for my pony. Promising 
to visit them again on my return, I set out for PeiTysburg, re- 


joioing that I had been sto}»pe(:l on Saturday for the sick ( ?) 

At that time Perrysbiuf; was but a poor little village od 
the east side of the INfaumee river. I found there only one 
Catholic family, poor Canadians, in a little cabin. I said mass 
for them and then crossed the bridgeless river with great diffi- 
culty and went to Maumee City on the other side. There I 
found two or three Catholics, said mass for them and set out 
for Toledo. 

Toledo was then (1839) a real mudhole, on tlio banks of 
the Maumee. It consisted of a few frame houses, some log 
cabins, an extent of swamp and an array of ponds of muddy 
water. A worse feature was that a large number of persons 
were sick with the Maumee fever. There were a few Catholic 
families and five or six single men. I said mass for eight or 
ten persons in the frame shanty of a poor Canadian. There 
were a few other families along the river and in the countiy, 
so I remained a few days at Toledo to give them a chance to 
hear mass and go to confession. 

As none of the houses of the Catholics was large enough 
to accommodate our little congregation, we rented a "hall" 
over a drug store and fitted it uj) with an altar made of dry' 
goods boxes covered with calico. In my later visits I found a 
few benches and two brass candlesticks. This was the first 
church of the good Father Rappe when, in 1841, he was sent 
from Chillicothe to take charge of Toledo as its first resident 

At Chillicothe Fathei- Rappe lived at the house of Major 
Anderson, a pious conveit who could sjieak French. It was 
here that I first met Fatlier Rappe. whiU' ho was learning 
English from the good major. 

From Toledo I went back to Maumee, and kept visiting the 
little towns along the banks of the Maumee river, such as 
Providence, Napoleon, etc. The most of the Catholics in this 
section were Inslimen, working on the canal, chiefly near Na- 
poleon. As they all lived in miserable tents, crowded and 
filthy, there was no corner for me among them. On one occa- 
sion when I had engaged what was called the parlor at the 
village taveni, I came in after a hard day's work just in tho 
mood for a good rest. I liad heard confessions and said mass 
in the mess tent of one of the camjis, and had visited several 
other camps, above and below the town. This time I was 
especially tired, and anticipated with pleasure a quiet evening 
bv a comfortable fire. 


When I returned to the tavern I noticed that a great many 
teams and saddle horses were hitched to the fences, and that 
the tavern was croAvded with men. I Avas obliged to go in by 
the back door, and Avas told by the landlord that court was be- 
ing held in the house. 

Napoleon was the county seat, the tavern was the largest 
house in the town, and my room was the largest convenient 
room in the tavern. This, then, had been appropriated by the 
judge, Avho sat in my chair, the jury was sitting on benches and 
boxes, the prisoner was in one corner of the room, and the wit- 
nesses and spectators were in all the remaining space. 

I went to an old log cabin, which answered for a dining 
room, and there I took my supper and said my office. When 
it began to groAv late, and as I was very tired, I resolved to go 
to bed in spite of the fact that the court was still in session. I 
pushed my way through the croAvd and found my bed occupied 
by three men sitting crossAvays. I whispered to them that this 
was my bed, and I would be obliged to them if they would move, 
as I wished to retire. They rather hesitated, but as I insisted 
they got out. Fortunately, the bed had curtains, and these I 
closed carefully, and behind them I proceeded to undress and 
prepare for bed. The situation caused a little merriment, but 
T did not mind that and Avas soon fast asleep. 

Some hours later I was awakened by the adjournment of 
the court and the loud voices and heaAy boots of the men. The 
prisoner came to my bed and asked me how I got along. I told 
him, very Avell, and asked him what was the decision of the 
court. He informed me that he got clear. He then left, and 
for the rest of the night I had a quiet and undisturbed sleep. 
The next day I continued my journey, going as far as Inde- 
pendence, where I found a few Catholic families. 

Well pleased with my first visit to the public Avorks, I re- 
turaed slowly to Tiffin, where I remained until the end of 

About that time I heard that Bishop Purcell was expected 
at a small town south of Tiffin, and I went there to meet him. 
The good Bishop received me very kindly and kept me with him 
a few days to help him in his visitation. Before returning he 
told me that as I was able to get along fairly well in English, 
he Avould appoint me pastor of Sandusky. Here there Avas 
neither church nor house, and only a few Catholic families, 
whose acquaintance I had first made whilst attending a sick 
call there from Tiffin. 


Mingled with the liard work of Father Mache- 
beuf there were many amusing incidents like those 
just related, and there were many other incidents 
that brought a special consolation with them. Among 
these latter was an experience which came to him 
upon one of his visits to Sandusky. Accidentally he 
heard that a murderer was confined in the jail and 
would be executed in three days. Tliinking that he 
might be a Catholic, Father Machebeuf visited him. 
He found the man to be of no particular religion, but 
not averse to religious help. Already the Episcopal 
and Methodist ministers had visited him and prayed 
with him, but Father Machebeuf undertook to do 
more. He explained the doctrine of penance, and 
showed the unfortunate man the necessity of some 
special manner of repentance and atonement. Then, 
going over all the ]")rincipal doctrines of the Church, 
he explained the Catholic teaching and convinced him 
of its truth. Ho spent the greater part of the three 
days in jail with the poor man, preparing him for the 
sacraments, which he received with great devotion on 
the morning of his execution. The preceding day he 
insisted upon fasting, in order to do some penance 
to make up for the total neglect of it during his pre- 
vious life. He accepted death in the spirit of pen- 
ance, and Father Machebeuf was greatly edified by 
his conduct in his last moments. The Protestant 
ministers made no attempt to interfere with his work, 
but when Father IMachebeuf appeared on the scene 
they retired and never visited the jail again to offer 
any further ministrations. 


Again, one night while going through the 
swamps along the Maumee river, he lost his way. 
Pushing on with difficulty he came to a house, and 
what was his delight to find it the home of a widow 
whom he had converted and baptized only a short 
time before. Her delight was still greater, for her 
father was sick and she had been praying that the 
priest might come and baptize him before he died. 
She had instructed him as well as she could, and he 
desired to die a Catholic. Father Machebeuf fin- 
ished the work which she had begun, baptizing him 
that night, and before morning God had called to 
Himself the newly regenerated soul. 

Such are a few of the things which offset the 
hardships in the missionary life of Father Mache- 
beuf and made it sweet in its severity. Nor were 
they incidents in his life alone. All the missionaries 
had similar experiences, and they but illustrate what 
was of frequent occurrence in the lives of all of them. 


Goes to Lower Sandusky. — The Place. — The People.— A 
Patriarch.— To Cincinnati in a Buggy. — Mardi Gras. — Meets 
the Future Bishop Rappe. — Castles in Spain and Churches in 
Ohio.— Railroads.— High Bridge. — Good Will of the People. 
Prepares to Build. — Removes to Sandusky City. — Household 
Arrangements. — Mixed Religions. — Troubles at Norwalk. 
Cooks. — Begs and Borrows. — The Lord Will Provide. — Piety. 

The year 1841 opened for Father Machebeuf un- 
der circumstances somewhat changed. He had been 
appointed pastor of Lower Sandusky and the sur- 
rounding missions, and had a less extensive field than 
formerly, but he had a heavier responsibility, for he 
was now alone to attend to the wants of the people 
scattered throughout his vast mission, and at the 
same time he must superintend the building of 
churches which were becoming necessary in many of 
his missions. 

Lower Sandusky was then but a village on the 
Sandusky river. It was established about twenty- 
five years previously, and had just absorbed Crogh- 
ansville, its rival on the opposite bank of the river. 
In 1850, when Sandusky City, on Lake Erie, began to 
forge rapidly to the front and overshadow its partial 
namesake, the name of Lower Sandusky was changed 
to Fremont. At the time of Father Machebeuf 's ar- 
rival it was as flourishing as any town in his mission, 
and was centrally located, which made it the most 
conv^enient location for him in his visitations of the 
scattered settlements. 


The manner of his appointment, and a descrip- 
tion of the place and its prospects are best given by 
Father Machebeuf himself in a letter written to his 
sister under date of March 10, 1841 : 

My Very Dear Sister: 

It is now more than a month since I received your two 
letters — one of the 4th of October, and the other of November 
14th, but when I tell you of the change in my position, and the 
long journey I have just made, you will pardon my delay in 
answering them. I am pleased to know that my letters have 
interested you. 

I think I told yon that Father Lamy came to see me at 
Tiffin in September, and as Bishop Purcell told me in one of 
his letters that he would be at Danville, Father Lamy's parish, 
on the 15th of November, I chose that moment to return Father 
Lamy's visit and have at the same time the consolation of find- 
ing him there whom I regard as a veritable father. I was lucky 
enough to find the Bishop there, and also a German priest with 
whom I am very well acquainted. All of them, including the 
family with whom Father Lamy stays, received me most kindly 
and gave me a hearty welcome. 

During my stay I was delighted to see all the good that my 
confrere has done. He has converted a number of . Protestants, 
and among them a distinguished family from London. They 
were once wealthy, but lost their fortune, and are now follow- 
ing the humble calling of the farmer. The Bishop pleased the 
Protestants so gTcatly, and so thoroughly disabused them on 
the subject of the Catholic religion, that several of them have 
been converted and others are about to follow their example. 
Nearly all of them call him their bishop. I was witness to a 
controversy which he had with a Protestant minister who was 
the terror of the whole country round. We had the pleasure 
of seeing this man humble himself before the Bishop and ask 
his pardon like a little child. 

When I rendered to the Bishop an account of our missions, 
and told him that a Protestant had given us a beautiful site for 
a church at Lower Sandusky, he advised me to attend particu- 
larly to that place, and visit it oftener than usual so as to over- 
see the building of the church. I told him that this arrange- 
ment would oblige us to give up the Irish who were working 
on the canal from fifty to a hundred miles west of Tiffin. He 
then decided that he would send a priest to the other side of the 


Maumee where the Irish are, that Father McNaraee would stay 
at Tiflfin and that I would have charjre of Lower Sandusky and 
Sandusky City, the capital of Erie county. In consequence of 
these arransements I have been pastor of Lower Sandusky since 
the 1st of January, 1841. 

Lower Sandusky is eighteen miles north of Tiffin. It is 
built on the Sandusky river, but in a narrow valley, and the 
plan of the town extends considerably back upon the hills on 
each side of the river. All the public buildings and a large 
number of other houses are already built. A magnificent paved 
road runs through the town from east to west, and steamboats 
and other vessels afford easy facilities of communication with 
Sandusky City on the shores of Lake Erie. A railroad, also, 
upon which they are now actively engaged, will soon connect us 
with the lake. 

As we have no church yet I have rented a large store build- 
ing and given it, as much as possible, the appearance of a 
church. I have had an altar made, also a confessional and 
benches with backs to them, as it is customary here, and I have 
rented all of them in order to meet my expenses. What will 
astonish you is that several Protestant families have rented 
some of them. Every Sunday a certain number of Protestants, 
drawn by curiosity, come to mass, and they seem to listen with 
interest to the instructions. There are no more than ten Cath- 
olic families in the town, and five of them are of mixed mar- 

Eight miles from here, on the river, there are about twenty 
Fre!ich Canadian families. Among them there is a man whose 
father was a negro, and he is not a bad image of one himself, 
but he has given sixty acres of land to the church. For the 
present, however, he retains the use of it. On it they have 
built a little chapel, which will be plastered as soon as fine 
wonther comes. 

Four miles south of the town there are a dozeii families of 
(Jermans, who live with such innocence and simjdicity as might 
mark the first Christians. It is in the midst of these that I am 
living. The family where I stay is quite patriarchal. The good 
old father, whose \on<r and ample coat with its immense buttons 
must date fiom the time of Henr\- TV, sings mass for me ever>- 
Sunday, and in this he is assisted by his three sons and three 
dnughters. He himself serves my mass during the week everv 
day where I .say it in my room, and he says that he would feel 
happy to serve it as long as he lived. He began when he wa.s 
ten years old by becoming a server, then he became sacristan. 


afterwards chanter, etc. Every evening after supper he gives 
me a lesson in German, but I think it will be a long time before 
I shall be able to read or speak it with any fluency. Besides 
the families I have mentioned there are many others scattered 
through the country, and some of them I do not know yet. I 
have counted about sixty families that come to mass. 

I shall not say much to you about our church, as there is 
nothing certain yet about its location or size. I am counting 
upon a gentleman who, although of no religion himself, will 
alone assist us more than half of the parish. He is very rich, 
and his wife is a Canadian and a good Catholic. He himself 
has no confidence in any but the Catholic religion. I stop at 
his place when I am in town, and I am writing this from his 
house. Locations for the church are offered to us in different 
places, and I am embarrassed only in the choice. I am in 
charge of Sandusky City in addition to this place, and probably 
I shall go there sooner or later to live. We are going to build 
a church there soon. 

Now I will tell you about our long trip. I had occasion to 
go to Columbus, the capital of Ohio, which is in the center of 
■the state. I thought that, being so far, I might as well make 
the other half of the journey and go to see Bishop Purcell at 
Cincinnati. I made known my plan to Father Lamy and 
offered him a place in my conveyance if he wished to accom- 
pany me. It was not necessar}' to urge him much — he was 
ready a week before the day appointed. 

We set out one fine day in February, after having placed 
ourselves under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, and it is 
impossible for me to tell you one-half of the pleasure and con- 
solation we both felt during that journey. It was such a relief 
to find ourselves separated from the Protestants and free to 
talk over our own little affairs. And how we did talk about 
France, about our relations, about the Seminary, and our con- 
freres! We enjoyed also singing together the canticles of the 
Blessed Virgin, and other hymns that we used to sing so often 
on the ship, and occasionally we varied our amusement by a 
little popular song, and you will not forget that I know quite a 
number of them. 

We arrived in Cincinnati on Saturday morning, Feb. 20, 
after four days of traveling from the home of Father Lamy. 
To tell you that Bishop Purcell received us with affection and 
a welcome truly paternal is useless. He entered into the most 
minute details to learn if we needed any assistance, if we had 
been sick, etc. 


Besides having the consolation of seeing the Bishop, we 
were agreeably surprised to find Father Gacon at the Bishop's 
house. His place is only forty miles from Cincinnati, and he 
had come to act as temporary pastor in the absence of Father 
Purcell, the brother of the Bishop. He is in fine health, and 
speaks English better than one would expect at his age. 

As we intended to make our trip as complete as possible, we 
remained but two days at Cincinnati, and on Tuesday morning 
we set out with the expectation of spending the evening of 
Mardi Gras with Father Cheymol. We would also take part 
with him in the ceremonies of Ash-Wednesday and share in 
the Lenten supplies which Father Gacon gave us for him. Un- 
fortunately we lost our way and had to pass the night at a little 
town fifteen miles from his church. The roads were frightful, 
and the next day when we found that we were only twelve miles 
from the main road to Columbus, we were tempted to sell 
Father Cheymol 's provisions to the hotelkeeper and come back 
direct. But the desire of seeing our old friend made us brave 
all difficulties, and we pushed on to Fayetteville, where we ar- 
rived with no other accident than being covered with mud. 

We found our countryman in excellent health, and b-carcely 
able to realize that the three of us were united again in 
America and in his own parish. The next day we resumed our 
journey and he accompanied us a long distance on the way. 
The following Sunday we had the further pleasure of making 
the acquaintance of a French priest who arrived from Boulogne 
only three months ago. Finally, after making 550 miles, I ar- 
rived here last Saturday in good health, but with an empty 

The case with the vestments has not yet come, but it is safe 
and we will receive it as soon as navigation opens. Please 
thank the ladies of the Visitation for their goodness in sending 
me a vestment, also Sister Emmanuel Andraud, and tell all the 
others that I realize my obligation to them. Tell them also 
that I count greatly on their prayers, for, in the distracting life 
which I must lead here, I am not sure that mine are so very 
pleasing to God. 

My respects to all the clergy of St. Amable and the Mar- 
thuret. Be also the interpreter of all my gratitude and affec- 
tion to our dear parents. Tell them especially not to be uneasy 
about me, for T have not yet been in need. 

Adieu, etc. 


Father Machebeuf's descriptions furnish good 
material for real history. In them we recognize spe- 
cial conditions and individual events proper to the 
times, and which passed away with the pioneer set- 
tler, the woodsman and the missionary. Some tilings 
remained longer, such as sectarian opposition, and 
the preacher who thumped the Bible and the Catholic 
Church at the same time, and a few of the things are 
with us yet, as the mixed-marriage evil, etc. 

It is unfortunate that Father Machebeuf did not 
think it necessary to give the names of more of those 
whom he met and labored with. They would be of 
little interest to those to whom he wrote, but to us 
they would be of special help in making up the his- 
tory of those heroic times. The priest whom they 
met on their return trip from Cincinnati was Father 
Rappe, the future Bishop of Cleveland. It was alto- 
gether a distinguished company, for they were all 
destined to wear miters. Such meetings, however, 
were not uncommon in those days, for on the Ohio 
missions about that time we find such men as Mache- 
beuf, Lamy, Rappe, Alemany, Henni, De Goesbriand, 
Neumann, Juncker and Miles. 

Another letter written at this time gives addi- 
tional details of his missionary work, and a fuller 
description of the early settlements on the borders of 
the Western Reserve. Even at that time there were 
indications of the great progress that was soon to 
follow, but the rapid and enormous strides of this 
giant civilization can better be estimated by seeing 
the past as it was in reality and comparing it with tlie 


present. In the midst of progress we lose conscious- 
ness of its movement, and failing to realize the im- 
portance of successive and gradual changes in which 
we have had no part, we almost come to think that 
things were always as we find them at a given time. 

The early church was in keeping with the early 
civilization, and both have made equal progress since 
Father Machebeuf wrote the following letter: 

Lower Sandusky. March 26. 1S41. 

Verv Dear Papa : . i 

Althouo-h all the letters that I write to my sister are surely 
communicated to you, I think that you would Perh^J ^e 
pleased to receive news from me m a manner more ^ rec 'lud 
official. I am o-oit^.^r. then, to give you today -reaer details of 
mv present position and work than I did in my last letter to 
vou in Februarv. I suppose that before this reaches you, you 
will have heard of the pleasure T enjoyed on my trip to Cin- 
cinnati, visitino- Father Gacon and his inseparable companion. 
Father Chevmol, and all of that in the company of my dear 
confrere. Father Lamy, whom I call my neighbor, although he 
is at least a hundred miles from here. 

But let me here express to you again my grateful thanks 
for the 500 francs vou sent me at Pans. Tt was the last ot 
Ihat sum which enabled n.e to pay one-half the cost of the little 
..quipage which has served me in such good stead. 

You are aware that I am no longer in charge of Tiffin, but 
of Lower Sa.iduskv. where T am living at present, and of San- 
dusky City, whore T am going to take up n.y residence prett> 

""""""what has detei-mined me to leave Lower Sandusky is that 
the town is built in a hollow on both sides of the river, and the 
atmosphere is not healthy in summer. From August until 
October a oood part of the inhabitants are down sick with the 
fever As T think T paid my contribution in that line last year 
at Tiffin, I do not care to be laid under obligations again this 
vear sLnduskv City, on the contrary, is extremely healthy 
Ihe whot ear.- as it'is built on the shore of Lake Kne whic^ 
is like a Tittle ocean. Its position is rather elevated and its 
soil is gravelly, so that the air is never tainted with unhealthy 


exhalations, and the wind, which has a clear sweep, keeps the 
atmosphere pure and wholesome. 

Besides this, the city is destined to become a commercial 
point of gi-eat importance. Everything seems to contribute to 
the fact. From the north vessels and steamboats of all sizes 
arrive from almost every part of the United States, and if I 
wished to pay you a visit, I would only have to board one of 
these steamboats which Avould take me to New York by means 
of the lake, and streams and rivers which are very numerous 
here and nearly all navigable. From New York, no sailing ves- 
sel, but a steamer would take me to Liverpool in fourteen days. 
From Liverpool to Paris by railroad and the Straits of Dover, 
two days would be enough. Then from Paris to Riom is but a 
hop-step-and-a-jump for an American. That is the way Father 
Lamy and I have fixed up our plan, but we cannot carry it out 
until we have each of us built two churches. He must build at 
Mount Vernon and Newark, and I at my two Sanduskys. If, 
then, you can find some good generous Catholic who will send 
us 80,000 francs for each church we will both start within a 

But pei-haps I am annoying you by speaking of a project 
which must seem to you impracticable. Nevertheless, I assure 
you that it is a project definitely fixed, only we shall have to 
wait a few years before carrying it out. You will pardon this 
digression — ''out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh." Means of travel appear so easy, and the voyage 
so agreeable, that I wished to have a foretaste, if only in im- 
agination, of the happiness of finding myself once more in 
your arms. 

To the South of Sandusky City there is a railroad finished 
to within eight miles of Tiffin, and it will be completed to Cin- 
cinnati in less than two years. This will give travelers the ad- 
vantage of crossing the entire state of Ohio in a day and a 
night. It took me six days to make the trip in my buggy. 

To the southeast there is another railroad that has fifteen 
miles in operation, and in a few years will reach Columbus, the 
capital of Ohio. Besides these two railroads another one will 
run along the lake shore, and will, I judge, be over 300 miles 
long. It will go through Sandusky City and connect directly 
with one which comes from New York. Then another one will 
cross the state from north to south. With such means of com- 
munication, you can judge if hopes for growth are well founded 
or not. 


But, just at this time, everybody is complaining that the 
times are bad. that money is scarce and business languishing. 

Before speaking to you of my Catholics, I want to give you 
an idea of a bHdge^hey are building for the railroad at Lower 
Sandusky As the towli lies between two hills they are obliged 
fo make'this bridge high enough so that t^- -Uro^^ -^.P- 
on a level from one hill to the other. They say tbat it will be 
Hftv feet hioh and perhaps a thousand feet long It will pass 
hger than^he houses, only a little to the -;;t^/%\\^^ ^^^ 
It will be entirely of wood, but extremely solid. There are 
a ready upon the ground about 500 timbers, some of which are 
from 40 to 50 feel long and a foot square. Perhaps this will 
tSiitS ou, but you m\ist not forget tliat ^^-^ timber issupe- 
abundant and covers about three-fourths f^;,.^^/^"*\"';',;„^d 
though people are doing their utmost to elea at off the .nd^ 
What a sight it will be to see a tram of eigbt ten o^J^'f^ 
enormous cars passing fifty feet above your head! T^^ey talK 
a good deal about the railroad from Brassac to Cle-io-^^^^^^/^ 
doubt very much that there is a bridge on it over the Cendre 

^'-'^t:!^:^:'^ Sandusky City is composed of fi^y ^v 
.Wtv families the greater part of whom are Irish and the rest 
are German The ^most of them are poor, with no resources 
: her than their day's wages. Some few are -^o^-t medi 
ocritv but. thank God, there are no rich, f or xf the iich ot otnei 
mrts of the world have so many difficulties to overcome in 
order to sa e heir souls, I do not know how the rich people in 
?Mscountrv could win their case before the Supreme Judge 

The Catholics are delighted at having a P^^ t« at^^^^j 
them reoularlv, especially as they have had up to the present 
Hronlvverv short visits from a priest three or four times a 
4^r There are many evils to reform, and I am glad to say that 
have alreadv noticed quite a change, and particularly among 
he drinkers. The women, however, are about the same all over 
the worid If you want Jo publish anything you have only to 
pH Hto one of them in a secret. But everybody shows good 
w 11 nd ha irelt respect for the priest One thing tha twil 
Ts onish vou is that the very Protestants ^^l'' r'^'^'Zc^th 
us than one-half, I should rather say three-fourths, of the Cath- 
nlips in France have for their pastors. ^ u •!;> - 

L."st »S I was busy getting up a s„bscn,,l.on „> bmld . 
dnucb an,l al.bou.h ™os, of thorn have -^.n^;'' "-- \X 
allv than I expected, it amounts to only *1,400 o' .tljO"", lo oe 
pafd * "he cXe of „ year. A location for the church ha. been 


offered to us for nothing in three different places, but I have not 
yet made any selection. You will probably be pleased to know 
that this church will not be of wood, but of stone, a thing rare 
in America. I have given commission for the renting of a house, 
and a young man, a German, with whom I am well acquainted, 
and who speaks English well, has promised to come and keep 
house for me. 

Please present my respects to the pastors of St. Amable 
and the Marthuret, also to the Sisters of Charity and the 
Christian Brothers. Tell them that they can help to advance 
the work of God a great deal by their prayers. 

Affectionately, etc. 

In nearly all the settlements attended by Father 
Machebeuf there were Germans, and some of the mis- 
sions were entirely German. More than any other 
nationality the Germans clustered together in exclu- 
sive settlements, and old and young spoke the mother 
tongue. The old must do so, and the young learned 
it and used it in their family communications. For 
these communities German priests were necessary, 
and one of the great difficulties of Bishop Purcell in 
those days was to procure German priests. In some 
places this want was supplied by the Redemptorist 
Fathers, tbe first of whom to come to this country 
were Germans. They did not come as a regularly 
organized community, but as individual members, 
and for a time, until the organization of their order 
in America, they took charge of missions in New 
York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, besides some few 
churches in the larger cities of the East. 

Adjoining the mission of Father Machebeuf 
was that of Peru and Norwalk, which had been served 
by the Rev. F. X. Tschenhens, the Redemptorist, who 
had been called to Pittsburg. Another German priest 
came from Detroit, but he only succeeded in creating 


factions and dividing the parish, and Bishop Pnrcell 
was obliged to send him away. Father Tschenhens 
returned a few weeks aftei-wards, but he did not re- 
main long and was followed for a short time by the 
Rev. John N. Neumann. Father Nemnann after- 
wards became Bishop of Philadelphia, and the holi- 
ness of his life was so great that petitions and pro- 
cesses for his future canonization have been pre- 

^^"^Vuring the vacancies in the mission of Peru, in- 
cluding Norwalk, MonroeviUe and the intervening 
country, Father Machebeuf was charged with the ad- 
ditTonal work of attending to that district In one 
of these intervals he wrote the following letter to his 
sister: Norwalk, May 26, 1841. 

has aniyed at last. 0"^ "^u ceU tt™ ted the bo. to hto. 
S: ToHtinTsifhe °£o5. U to ™e upon coming to n,as. 

iere at Norfolk, where I am ">"P'"-»"'\P .f^'^^e I want to 
Before telling you the reason f^."' -.^/'^'^ "."f^i' , with 
thank you for the vestments an.l a >'= "'l'"^; '^'J^^'^ 
which I am e:;tremely pleased You ' '"^'.J"'" ' g^a 

p.atitude to all "'7; "'"it'" I b f P eas t duty for me to 
reward their good deed! It «i" oe a | e . 

remember them >" '^^ -'^.^^f^^V fc'J^, d e'^n ."n say 
the happiness to offer he hoi> "^'^^^ ^ ,. i^^niilitv to her 

truth Uiat a good rehpous once ^'^^f/" Y/^/""" ^^J^.. -My 

trouble to kee,, my ^^"hLT h XoVef J^e' Holy. Victim 
Sser/lomygotd f'r;e:d's:L^"rih'a.".hey will also give m. 


this token of their interest in my work, and knowing that Oui" 
Lord will be more disposed to hear their prayers than any I 
could offer for myself. When you see Papa and our good aunt 
thank them for this new proof of their love. You must also 
thank the Mother Superior and all the contributors to the offer- 
ing. I have already begun to make the people of this congre- 
gation happy by distributing medals among them, but for fear 
that I would not have any left I have sent everything over to 
my own parish. 

M3' project of locating in Sandusky City was realized on 
the 1st of May, and I am now keeping house. I rented a house 
from a rich Polander who is a Catholic. He lives in New York 
at present. If I simply were to tell yon that it is a frame house 
you would likely have but a poor idea of it. I can assure you that 
very few of the coimtry pastors in Auvergne are as well housed 
as I am. Upon the ground floor I have a parlor, dining-room, 
kitchen, offices and stud}'. The second storj^ has two nice bed- 
rooms, with dressing-rooms, and above these are the rooms for 
the domestics, and the attic. The house is painted white on the 
outside, and there is a large garden at the back of it, and a 
wooden stable which I bought for $12, and which I shall take 
with me when I am going away. All around the garden there 
is a row of young acacias which are beginning to give shade. 
The rent is $80 a year. This is far beyond my means, but it 
was the only house that was for rent, and even then we had to 
employ a little ruse to get it. It is at one side of the town, a 
thing that suits me very well, and my nearest neighbors are 
nearly all Catholics. 

Within the last two months five Catholic families have 
come to town, and I know many others who intend to come and 
live here. My congregation, including those who live within ten 
miles of the town, numbers about sixty families, but I am sure 
there will be a hundred pretty soon. My church, as at Lower 
Sandusky, is nothing but a big hall converted into a chapel, and 
we were lucky to find a hall that would answer. 

Last year I said mass three times at Toledo on Sundays. 
In the same building, and at the same moment, the Methodists 
were holding their meeting, and, according to their praise- 
worthy (?) custom, the minister made so much noise by his 
shouting and howling that we were seriously annoyed. I had 
one little bit of consolation in the midst of the annoyance, and 
that was the thought that I had them under my feet. We Avere 
on the second floor and they on the first. At Lower Sandusky, 
just across the street from our chapel, the Presbyterians hold 


their meetings in a large hall loaned to them for the purpose. 
I can hear them singing-, and it often happens that some of them 
come over to our chapel. A few of them rent our seats, and 1 
notice with pleasure that prejudices are daily growing less, and 
that those who come to hear the explanations of the dogmas of 
the Catholic religion end by being convinced that the priests 
are not monsters, and that the Catholics are not idolaters, nor 
as ignorant and superstitious as they before imagined. At San- 
dusky City we are also about to begin building: a church, which 
will probably be all of stone. 

Now I will tell you why I am at Norwalk. You remember 
about the German priest, a Kedemptorist, whose going to Balti- 
more left his mission without any spiritual attendance except the 
few visits made by Father McNamee and myself. Now, in 
America, as in Europe, Catholics are not angels. Trouble broke 
out, divisions arose and lawsuits were threatened. Bishop Pur- 
cell learned of the conditions and wrate to me to go and take 
possession of the church until he could come and investigate the 
affair. I came immediately, and am pleased to see that the 
turbulent spirits are beginning to quiet down, and I foresee 
that there will be no permanent evil results. It is now that a 
knowledge of German would be useful to me. Among the 110 
families here, 100 are German, although half of them know 
English and speak it well. As soon as the Bishop comes I ex- 
pect to return to Sandusky City. 

I do not know how my housekeeper is getting along with 
his housekeeping. I think he must be hungry, for our stock of 
provisions was low before I left. He is about as good as an 
old man we had at Tiffin, who wanted to know if he should put 
the platter in the stove when he cooked the meat. But necessi- 
ty, the mother of invention, has taught me a little of the science 
of the kitchen, and I am able to give the cook a few lessons. 
Then a good appetite is the best sauce, and, thank God, I have 
never lacked that. Although always "whitey," as they called 
me at the Seminary, I have been strong and hearty since last 
fall, and I hope to hold out bravely this summer. 

If I had time to write to the pastor of Cendre, I would tell 
him for his amusement that the Catholics have already found 
out my weakness for salad, and they send it to me every day. 
I have a peculiar way of dressing it. To measure the oil they 
use a cornstalk, and it is a little singular that thoy always 
choose one with a knot about the middle of it. You may think 
I am getting silly, but olive oil is scarce here and costs money. 

When you see our good father and dear aunt tell them how 


often I think of them. They need not worry about me— I have 
never been in need of anything except money. I have often 
been in debt for books, for the wages of the workmen, for the 
rent of the chapel, etc., but in one way or another Providence 
has always come to my assistance. 

Adieu! Pray with all fervor for the success of my mis- 
sion, for I am convinced that you will further the work of God 
more by your prayers than we can by our journeyings and our 

Thus early in his career we begin to notice some 
of the special characteristics of the whole missionary 
life of Fatlier Machebeuf. Already he has begun to 
beg from his friends and relatives in France for fur- 
nishings for his new churches, and religious articles 
for his scattered flocks. The arrival of the case of 
goods spoken of in his last letter was only the first of 
a series which lasted as long as he lived, and in all 
the churches that he founded, from the humblest 
chapel to his very catliedral, may yet be found vest- 
ments, or sacred vessels, or stations, or pictures, etc., 
supplied to him in this way. Even the purses of his 
friends were called upon, and they were seldom 
closed against him. 

Another thing to which he refers is his debts. 
For one born and educated in the heart of France, 
Father Macliebeuf was singularly unlike what we 
would expect one to be who had been trained in a 
country where customs are fixed and change of any 
kind is unusual. The spirit of progress was in him, 
and pushed him a little ahead of the times in which 
ho lived. Even as an American he would have been 
considered progressive. His plans in those early 
days, and ever afterwards, were more for the future 
than for the present. If such things were not neces- 


sar}^ at the time tliey would be in a few years, and as 
for the exjiense, why, God would provide. His con- 
fidence in God was unbounded, and "God will pro- 
vide!" was ;in axiom witli him. "Auspice Maria" 
was on his escutcheon, but " Dcus proridchit" might 
claim equal right of place. 

His plans, however, were not unreasonable, nor 
were his investments rash, and if they proved fail- 
ures at times, it was more owing to circumstances 
than to any fault of his. Business depression, the 
failure of entire conunuiiities to realize their expec- 
tations, losses in values which came to him as they 
come to thousands of business men, hard times and 
high taxes, together with his almost unlimited gen- 
erosity to the poorer churches under his charge, kept 
him always a poor man as far as money goes and 
accounts for the debts that always worried him. 
Had he been less generous and less solicitous for the 
welfare and accommodation of future generations, 
he might have died a millionaire instead of a penni- 
less man as lie always lived. 

Again, in his letters he is continually asking for 
prayers from others and making light of his owni as 
if they were few and worthless. This was the result 
of his faith and humility. Father Machebeuf him 
self was ever a man of prayer, even in his busiest mo- 
ments. To the end of his life he made it a practice to 
attend all ])ublic services in his church, no matter 
who oflficiated, unless prevented by some special ne- 
cessity, and at the clerical retreats he was among the 
most attentive. He was at the retreat for the clergy 
in Cincinnati in the summer of 1841. yet earlier in 


that year, one week after this last letter in which he 
was discounting his own pious efforts, he retired to 
the solitude of the little church of St. Alphonsus at 
Peru, and spent several days in prayer and medi- 

The '' Affections, resolutions and rule of life" 
which he drew up on that occasion are preserved yet 
in his own handwriting. He begins by saying that 
the rule was ''drawn up at St. Alphonsus' in a short 
retreat made to unite myself with the intentions of 
the pious exercises of my dear confreres at the Sem- 
inary of Mont-ferrand during this octave of Pente- 
cost, ' ' and he ends it with the following act of confi- 
dence in the Blessed Virgin, which no one could make 
who had not the spirit of prayer : 

If I draw a rule of life, after having been so unfaithful in 
the observance of those which I have already made, it is under 
your auspices, Mary, my hope, that I undertake this one. 
It is you, who, by your prayei's to your Divine Son, withdrew 
me from the midst of a corrupt world, and led me in spite of 
myself into that asylum of piety where God showered upon me 
His graces and His favors. It was in pronouncing your holy 
name that I took the awful step which bound me to the service 
of the altar. It was during the month of May, which is con- 
secrated to you, that I parted from my dear parents and rela- 
tions to come here and labor to gain souls to your Divine Son. 
It was during the octave of your Assumption that my foot first 
pressed the soil of this land — the object of my desires, and 
during the octave of your Nativity I first saw the new city 
where I was to find another father. It was the day of the 
feast of your holy Rosary that I left it to go where Providence 
destined, and it was during your month again that I began 
this retreat. 

The rule of life which he drew up insists partic- 
ularly upon mortification, fidelity to his ''little exer- 
cises of piety," and the beads at least once a day! 


Visit of P.ishop riircell. — Cluaches Bejjfim.- Manual Labor 
by Father Machebeuf and Bishop Purcell.— Domestic Concerns. 
Salary. — Money Scarce. — Laborers Paid in Produce. — Father 
Rappe.— Times Grow Harder. — Bank Failures. — Low Market 
Prices.— Church Grows in Poverty. — Patrons of His Churches. 
Goes to Canada to Collect. — Shipwreck. — Openintr of iho 
Churches. — Blessed are the Poor. 

Bishop Purcell with Father Henni came to San- 
dusky City upon his visitation in June, 1841, and was 
pleased to find that, owing to the prudence of Father 
Machebeuf, the troubles at Norwalk had quieted 
down and the mission was in temporary charge of 
Father Tsehenhens. At Sandusky City things were 
prospering, and upon the occasion of his visit there 
were 110 communions and a confirmation class of 
twenty persons. 

While there Bishop Purcell fonnally instituted a 
Total Abstinence society which Father Machebeuf 
had ready for organization. This society was then, 
and for many years aftei-wards, a source of great 
pride for Father Machebeuf. On this same occasion 
also Bishop Purcell presided at a meeting of the con- 
gregation (June 29), at which arrangements were 
made for starting the new church for which upwards 
of $1,600 had been i)romised. 

Groing to Lower Sandusky, they were hospitably 
received at the house of Mr. Rudolph Dickinson, 
where Father Machebeuf generally made his home 
when visiting that place. A lot for a church had 
been donated by Charles Brush, Esq., of Columbus, 


and Mr. Dickinson made the liberal offer of all the 
brick necessary, besides other assistance to the new 
church. Father Machebeuf accompanied the Bishop 
and his party as far as Toledo, when he returned to 
Sandusky City to take up the work of building. 

The summer was spent in the work of prepara- 
tion, gathering money and material, until he was 
ready to lay the corner-stone, on October 13, 1841. 
This he did himself with the authorization of Bishop 
Purcell, and to make the occasion as solemn as possi- 
ble he invited the Rev. Peter McLaughlin of Cleve- 
land to assist him and preach the sermon. 

The building of his churches added to the labors 
and trials of Father Machebeuf, but he never lost 
hope or courage, nor any of his cheerfulness and good 
humor, as we can see from the letters which he wrote 
to his friends during this season of his hardest labor 
when times were the most discouraging in Ohio. 

Monroeville, Feb. 28, 1842. 
Very Dear Papa : 

I hasten to answer the letter which I have just received 
from my sister through the intermediary of Father Lamy. 

I really cannot understand the uneasiness which you have 
all felt on account of my supposed sickness. It is true that I 
have not written to you since last summer, but I am positive 
that you have had news of me several times through the letters 
of my confreres. It was an agi'eement among us that each 
time one wrote he was to give news of all. Father Cheymol 
promised that he would write in a few days, and Father Lamy 
said he would not delay long after him. Relying on these two 
I put it off a little longer than usual, and that for good reasons 
which I will now explain to you. 

You remember that when I told you of my appointment as 
pastor of Sandusky City and Lower Sandusky, I said that I had 
no church in either of these places. The first step, then, in 
organizing my congregations was to get subscriptions for San- 


dusky City, where I fixed my residence. For that it was nec- 
essary to scour the forests and cross the Lake to the Peninsula 
and little islands near by to find the Catholics. Then I had to 
look out for a location for the church. Two rich property 
owners of Sandusky City, neither of whom is Catholic, were 
anxious to donate ground for that purpose. Mr. Follette offered 
us a magnificent lot in the eastern part of the town, and Mr. 
Mills would give us three lots in the western part of the town 
and $100 in cash. I waited for Bishop Purcell to come before 
deciding the question, and Mr, Mills grew so apprehensive that 
we would accept the proposition of Mr. Follette, that he offered 
the Bishop five lots, with .$530 and all the stone and timber nec- 
essary for the building. You may imagine that Bishop Purcell 
did not hesitate long in his choice. 

Immediately after the Bishop's departure our people began 
the work. Some of them set to hauling stone, others to cut- 
ting and preparing the timber, and during that time I went 
away for the retreat. I was absent five or six weeks, and upon 
my return I invited an Irish priest, who is my neighbor and 
lives also on the shore of the Lake, to come and preach for the 
laying of the corner-stone. A few days later about fifteen or 
twenty Catholics, the pastor among the numbei', set to the real 
work, and from the 13th of October until the winter came on 
every minute that was not consecrated to the ministry was 
given to the workmen. 1 have been at times architect, superin- 
tendent, mason, and even less than that, as the need may have 

The daj' of the blessing of the corner-stone I made use of 
a very efficacious means to make my people work. The team- 
sters had unloaded an enoiTnous pile of stone inside the plan of 
the foundations. It was right in our way, so, without saying a 
word, I took off my coat and hat and began earning the stone 
outside of the foundations. The spectators all took the hint 
immediately and it was not long before all the stone was re- 
moved. In doing this I was only imitating our Bishop, who, at 
the head of his seminarians, used the shovel for half a day 
digging for the foundations of his cathedral, while Fathers 
Gacon, Cheymol and others filled the wheelbanow?. Yon see 
that we are obliged to turn ourselves to everything. 

My sister tells me that my aunt has advised you to send me 
some help. I strongly approve of that advice, and you can rest 
assured that it will not go to pay the doctor, but rather the 
shoemaker. It may seem extraordinary, but I have worn out 
three pairs of boots since last spring. This is a good proof that 


I have not been confined to the house very much, and **the sad 
cause" of my not Avriting which my sister believes she saw in 
Father Lamy's letter, could not have been more serious than an 
occasional cold brought on by some sudden change of weather. 
To reassure you completely, I can say that we are the spoiled 
children of Providence, and if we have to undergo some little 
privations and make a few sacrifices now and then, the good 
God repays us a hundred-fold. As for Bishop Pureell, he is 
continually giving us proofs of his truly paternal tendemiess. 
Every time that he writes to us he makes particular inquiries 
to find out if we need an.ything, and he often deprives himself 
to help us. 

This letter was not sent away until March 2nd, 
vv'hen he added some items of information for his sis- 
ter which are equally as interesting as what he had 
already written. Some of them give us an insight 
into his domestic life which we would never get were 
it not for a woman 's curiosity. He writes to her as 
follows : 

Finding myself now at Lower Sandusky I must not let this 
go to Papa without adding a little supplement as an answer to 
j^our last letters, all of which have reached their destination. 
You have asked me so many questions about my position, my 
manner of living, my friends, etc., that I really do not know 
where to begin to answer you. If I were not speaking to a 
father or a sister I would not enter into such details in writing 
of America, but I want to satisfy all of you in order that you 
may be well assured of my situation, and that henceforth your 
affection for me may not can-y you so far that you might per- 
haps lose confidence in Providence. 

The principal personage of my household is the most trou- 
blesome one. He is always flying around on some business or 
other and cannot keep quiet. His business is of such import- 
ance that my purse is continually a sufferer by it. This person 
is none other than your humble servant. Besides him, who is 
a permanent fixture, I have a family composed of a man and his 
wife and one little boy who is beginning to serve my mass. 
They do my housekeeping. As for the other servant, the old 
cook, whose knowledge was limited to cooking potatoes in their 
jackets, and for which I paid him seven dollars and a half a 


month, 1 had to let him go. I give to this family only their 
rooms, with light and firewood. They board themselves and do 
my washing, etc. I have some dilTicnlty to pay my house rent, 
and I had to sell my dear little wagon, which was so useful to 
me, but I have the horse yet, although he is a little lame 
just now. 

We have no fixed salary. We take up subscriptions our- 
selves, but money is so scarce that the people are not able to 
give much. As for provisions, there is not a pastor in Auvergne 
as well supplied in that way as I am, and it happens at times, 
that not having any money, I pay my workmen with hams, etc. 
As soon as my church is built I shall begin my presbytery just 
beside it. I have already received donations of the stone and 
the framework, but where shall I find the money to buy the rest 
and pay the cost of the labor? Fully $300 will be needed, not- 
withstanding the work which the Catholics will do gratis. Yes, 
indeed, if Papa's business permits him to follow the "good 
advice" which our aunt gave him his help will come very oppor- 
tunely, but I leave that all in the hands of Providence. 

Since I left Tiffin our original mission has been divided 
into four parts, but there is work for ten priests. Father Mc- 
Namee, my old co-laborer, remains at Tiffin. The German 
priest of Norwalk has come back to his former place. Father 
Amadeus Rappe, a French priest and a particular friend of 
mine, has charge of Maumee, Toledo and the canal, and your 
servant is pastor of the two Sanduskys. Father Rappe came 
about a year ago from France, where he was for a long time 
chaplain of the Ursulines at Boulogne-sur-Mer. He is the most 
pious, the most learned, and at the same time the most amiable 
man whom I have met in America. When I am with him I can 
not help thinking of the good Mr. Chades. He is of the same 
age, the same height, and has all his good qualities. We make 
alternate visits and meet quite often. The railroad from Toledo 
to Sandusky will soon be in operation, and during the summer 
three or four steamboats go and come ever}- week. He is, then, 
for me a sincere friend with whom I find consolation for both 
soul and body. 

For several years financial distress was increas- 
ing in the United States. The business of the coun- 
try was increasing as the country developed and was 
outgrowing the volume of currency. Added to this 
was the expense of the second Seminole war just 


closed, which cost forty million dollars — a large sum 
for the govemmeiit in those days — and almost every 
enterprise was short of funds. The demand for 
money became general, and the West felt the need 
sorely. One after another the banks failed ; con- 
tractors could not pay their men because they could 
not get money themselves, and universal distress 

Father Machebeuf felt the full force of the liard 
times, for all of his resources were in the surplus 
savings of his people, and when there was no longer 
a surplus there was nothing for him. His credit was 
good, and he went on with his church buildings so far 
as to render them fit for service by borrowing money 
wherever he could find any, and in this way he went 
on with the necessary things, depending upon Provi- 
dence and the future to help him out at the end. Upon 
this condition of affairs in general, and his own con- 
dition in particular, he wrote to his brother Marius 
on June 30, 1842 : 

My Dear Brother : 

It was three years on May 15th since I saw you, and it will 
be three years the 9th of next month since I left La Belle France 
to come and evangelize, not savag:es, but Europeans who are com- 
ing in crowds to clear off the forests of America. This is my 
first letter to you, and I suppose you can join my sister and my 
father in accusing- me of ingratitude. I shall offer no other apol- 
ogy than a denial, for I have thought often, very often, of you 
and of all the other dear ones whom nothing in the world could 
have made me leave if the voice of God had not called me, 
against my very inclinations, to my life of sacrifiee and renun- 
ciation. But all my letters have been for all of you, and, as I 
could not write to each one separately, I addressed them to our 
dear Papa or sister, who could certainly interpret what ray 
heart wanted to sav to each one. 


1 wrote to my sister a short time ago, but another iellor 
has since come from her, aijkiug the same qiu'stious which 1 have 
already answered, and I shall say but a few words on them now. 
Besides the two Sanduskys 1 visit Port Clinton, a colony ol 
French Canadians who live along the borders of the lakes and 
rivers and swamps, and support themselves by hunting and tish- 
ing somewhat like the Indians. 1 have to visit Catholics scat- 
tered over an extent of country twice as large as the whole De- 
partment of the Puv-de-I)oine. I have only one church yet — the 
ehajiel in the French settlement — but I have three others under 
way. When shall I finish them? That I know not. When 
I gather money by dint of scouring through forests and 
woods lo pay my present debts, then 1 contract 'uote, for, to be 
a true American, one must have debts, and ir. that regard I am 
the genuine article. 

My health is as good as 1 could wisli, although I am the 
same old "Whitey, " but appearances are deceptive sometimes. 
I have an Irish familj' keping house for me. A little boy 12 
years old takes care of my horse, runs eiTands, serves my mass, 
etc. My provisions cost me almost nothing, for I receive numer- 
ous donations of that sort, and even if my purse is mostly a re- 
minder that some people have money else purses would not be 
made, I am happy, and more so than you imagine, or is suspected 
by my old companions at liouie, who would hasten to our assisi- 
ance if they could only get rid of the false ideas that they have 
of the United States. " 

Now that you have gone into business you will probably 
want to know how business is here. I can answer in all truth 
that it could not be in a worse condition. Since the declaration 
of independence no one ever saw here such stagnation in business 
affairs. Not only is this true of Ohio, but in all the Slates of 
Ihe Union. There is not the tenth part of the money in circula- 
tion now that people had in former years. Tvast spring most of 
the banks failed, to the great loss of a host of merchants, me- 
chanics and others, and the few that did not fail will not lend 
any money, and in con.sequence everj' enterjirise is at a standstill. 
The company that was building the famous railroad bridge I 
spoke of has thrown up everything, and now they are talking of 
tearing the bridge down and selling it piecemeal to pay the 
debts. Business is run principally upon jiaper money, a speci- 
men of which I send you from one of the broken banks. Many 
of the Irish laborers who worked on the railroads, canals, etc.. 
have lost half of their wages. By this my church has also lost, 
for my subscril)Prs could pay mo very little so long as they did 


not ^et their own pay. We hope that times will get better after 
the harvest. 

It appears that you have some thought of coming to America 
to engage in business. I advise you not to think of it just now. 
Fortune is more fickle here than anywhere else. Europeans are 
coming in great numbers, but it is to buy and improve land. 
These tillers of the soil are getting along verj'^ well and make a 
better living here than in Europe, but as you do not intend to 
take up the spade or the plow I advise you to stay in France. 

The harvest of which Father Machebeuf speaks 
came and passed, but it did not bring the betterment 
in the times which he had hoped for. Yet he had the 
happy facultj^ of looking on the bright side of things. 
There was no situation entirely bad, and no condi- 
tion without a great deal of good, and he was always 
able to find that good. The silver lining to every 
cloud particularly drew his attention and encouraged 
him. Temporal affairs might be languishing and 
material things might have to wait, but religion was 
flourishing and God's work was going on, and that 
was always a reason for Father Machebeuf to be 
cheerful and hopeful. He pushed his work forward 
in this spirit, and relied upon the Providence of God 
to help him carry it to a successful conclusion. That 
Providence sometimes waited a long time before 
manifesting itself, and forced Father Machebeuf to 
extraordinary exertions, but he never flinched nor 
drew back, but sought out new sources of relief when 
the old ones were becoming exhausted. This year of 
1842 was, perhaps, the hardest of all upon him, and 
he gives us a further picture of it, and of the work he 
was doing in spite of the hard times, in a letter writ^ 
ten to his father from St. Alphonsus', Peru, Octo- 
ber 4, 1842 : 


Very Dear Papa : 

i'iuding myself again pastor of the Germans for a few days. 
I profit by a leisure hour to g^ve you some news of myself. 
You will excuse my paper — it was the best ihat 1 could liiid. 1 
have written several letters without receiving any answer, but 1 
shall not return the reproaches I received for my supposed neg- 
lect. I will simply say that whether you receive news from mt' 
directly or only indirectly, be perfectly easy in your mind, and 
resigned to that good Providence which treats me here as a 
spoiled child. In order to reassure you upon a point which your 
affection for me makes of special irterest to you, I will begin by 
telling you that my health is all that could be desired. The air 
of Sandusky agrees with me perfectly. 

Now, what news of America? If I had come here to maki' 
my fortune I would say that thinp:s could not be in a more sad 
condition. Business is almost dead and work is suspended upon 
all large enterprises. Grain is ut such a low figure that it will 
hardly pay the cost of cultivation. Wheat, which should bring 
a dollar a bushel, and has brought thpf price, bus gone down to 
50 cents, and even to 35 and 40 cents in the interior of the state. 
It has been sold in Indiana for 25 cents. All other provisions 
are cheap in proportion. The best meat costs 4 cents a pound, 
chickens 12y2 cents a pair, and an 18-pound turkey may be had 
for 25 cents. As for fruit, it is not sold exce]it in the towns. In 
the country you can go into an orchard and eat and carry away 
as many apples as you want. Butter is 5 rents a pound, N. 0. 
sugar 3 cents, and so on down the list. 

You see, then, that no one need starve here. There is hardly 
any money in circulation, and as the majority of the population 
is composed of farmers, (hey are greatly embarrassed to pay 
their debts and procure clothing, which is much dearer here than 
in Europe. 

But if I were to answer the question as a priest engaged in 
procuring the glory of God, the salvation of souls and the ad- 
vancement of religion, I would not hesitate to answer that every- 
thing is most flourishing. Just as the holy religion to which we 
have the happiness to belong was established by Our Saviour 
only in the midst of poverty, humiliations and sufferings, and 
nevertheless spread through the whole universe in spite of the 
bloody persecutions, in the same way this divine religion ought 
to be established in this new world in poverty, in contradictions, 
and in the most atrocious calumnies on the part of Protestants. 
But it is a consolation for me fo announce that while I am writ- 
ing, there are more than fifteen churches being built to the glory 


of God in the State of Ohio, and I am not speaking- of a large 
number of eiiapels which the Germans, the Irish and the French' 
are putting up in the country and in the woods, and that, too, 
when the times are the hardest. All of the French priests who 
came to America when I did are busy with a church or a chapel. 
Father Lamy has two churches almost finished— one of brick 
and the other of wood. Father Rappe, whom I mentioned to 
you before, has two churches almost ready to be blessed, one of 
which he bought from the Protestants two years ago. Father 
De Goesbriand, a Breton educated at St. Sulpice, has added 25 
feet to a church which he found already built. As for me, I 
have two in the lorineipal county towns and a chapel for my 
French people in the bargain. The one at Sandusky City is en- 
tirely of stone, with windows, front and coi'ners trimmed with 
cut stone. It is 40x70 and is under roof, The church at Lower 
Sandusky is up to the roof, but it is of frame and is extremely 
simple. I shall send you a plan of them when they are finished. 
I know you will like the one at Sandusky City. It is in the pure 
gothie style. The first story of the belfry is 40 feet high, and 
the steeple will come later and rise 30 feet higher, so that the 
gilded cross will be seen shining far out upon the lake. I have 
a good portion of the stone ready for my presbj^tery, but when 
will I build it"? I have not a single dollar to pay the rent of my 
house where I have lived since May, and I think that I shall be 
obliged to get a cheaper one. 

I think that you will approve of the choice that I have made 
of the patron saints of my churches. My intention was to put 
the church at Sandusky City under the protection of the Blessed 
Virgin, but as there was one already dedicated to her on Lake 
Erie, the Bishop wanted me to give it to the Holy Angels. I did 
so choosing St. Michael, your own particular patron, as the prin- 
cipal patron, hoping that he would now protect the father in a 
more special manner wliile guarding the interests of the parish 
confided to the son. In the Seminary chapel at Cincinnali there 
was a fine picture of St. Miclmel, six feet high, that drew my 
attention. I asked the Bishop for it and he gave it to me. Since 
then I got two beautiful pictures four feet high, representing the 
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and this was the plan I used 
to pay for them. I had them placed on each side of the altar 
in the large hall that we were using for a church. The following 
Sunday my people were greatly surprised at seeing these fine 
paintings and wondered how and where I got them. They daz- 
zled the good Irish especially, some of whom had never seen 
brass crucifixes, medals or paintings. After mass I said to them: 


"These pictures are ours if we can collect the price of them, 
otherwise they must be sent back to Buffalo." At the words 
"sent back" 1 heard a faint murmur that promised well. I told 
them that the young ladies of the parish had bought the artificial 
flowers, the vases, laces, etc.. and now it was the turn of the 
gentlemen to make their little presents to the church, and that I 
was ready to take the names of those who would contribute 
towards paying for the pictures. The most of them came up 
eagerly to subsciibe, and those who did not come I went to see, 
so that in less than three days our {)ictures were paid for, and 
even some Protestant ladies helped us in paying for them. 

After this digression, already too long, I should tell you 
that the church at Lower Sandusky will be dedicated to St. 
Anne, that I may pray with greater confidence for my dear 
Aunt Anne. 

Now, I think I hear Sister Marie Philomene ask if I have 
forgotten her patron. How could I forget her patron when it 
was I who gave her that patron? Her chapel is built by the 
Sandusky river on an elevated spot suirounded by trees whore 
the scenery is most picturesque. It was consecrated to St. Phil 
omena by the Bishop last year, and now my sister has permission 
to scold me for forgetting to tell her this piece of agreeable news. 
If my brother had a name which was more conimon in America 
I would have given it to my French chapel twenty-five miles 
farther away, but I found there were so many by the name of 
Louis that we dedicated it to St. Louis, King of France. 

Apropos of the retreat, 1 must tell you of the joy and con 
solation which we all felt at being together again with our holy 
Bishop, and especially of the good we dciived from our retreat. 
I felt my old impressions at Mont-ferrand revive, but I am 
afraid that the wild life we lead here, and, above all, the levity 
and inconstancy of my character, will cause me soon to lose the 
fruit of it. It was preached to us by the Rev. feather Tiraon, 
Superior of the Lazarists in the United States. There were 
thirty of us. What a difference from the Diocese of Clermont. 
Forty priests in a diocese as large as one-third of France, and 
600 priests in the Diocese of riermonl ! Forty priests in mv 
parish would have plenty to do. 

Church fairs, festivals and hazaars liad not come 
into fasliion in 1842, and oven if tliey liad been in 
vogue at that time they would no (h)ubt have failed 
of success in the midst of the circumsUmces which 


Father Machebeuf describes. Such things are for 
times at least moderately prosperous and for places 
thickly populated. His poverty-stricken villages 
could not have done much, and his rural population 
could have brought him only the produce of their 
farms. This would not have built his churches nor 
paid his debts, which were growing more and more 
pressing. But Father Machebeuf did not sit down 
and grieve, nor give way to discouragement. Ever 
resourceful, he thought of the prosperity of the Eng- 
lish and the thrift of the French. If he could com- 
bine these two elements in his favor all would yet be 
well. He had confidence in Providence, but he knew 
that Providence helps those who help themselves. 
Thinking over these things during the summer of 
1842, when the means of his own people were ex- 
hausted, his church-building at a standstill and his 
creditors pressing for money, he formed the resolu- 
tion of appealing personally to the sympathy of his 
fellow-countrymen in Canada. Bishop Purcell ap- 
proved of his plan, and gave him leave of absence 
with excellent letters of recommendation to the Bish- 
ops and priests of Canada. Father Machebeuf made 
his preparations with all haste, but it was really win- 
ter time before he was ready to start. 

To appreciate the heroism of such an undertak- 
ing we must remember that it was 1842, when a great 
part of the country through which he must travel was 
a wilderness, with no railroads, few good wagon 
roads, and towns and settlements far less plentiful 
than today. It was also at the approach of a Cana- 


dian winter, which alone is competent to test the en- 
durance of man. It is true that travel was yet open 
by water, but navigation was liable to be closed at 
any time, and if he reached his destination before its 
closing, it was certain that his travels in the interior 
of Canada, and his return home, would be in the 
depths of winter and would have to be made by some 
other means. Then, his poor people of the Sandu&- 
kys must be left unattended during his absence, for 
there was no priest to fill his place and attend to their 

But all this did not deter Father Machebeuf. He 
was working for the glory of God, and he believed 
that the glory of God and the good of his mission 
called for this effort, and the difficulties and dangers 
of the undertaking were, in his estimation, out- 
weighed by the prospective good results. 

His success may not have reached his expecta- 
tions, but it amply rewarded him for his labors and 
enabled him to go on with his churches, as we shall 
see from his subsequent letters, the first of which wa^s 
written to his father from Montreal : 

Montreal, January 12, 184;{. 
Very Dear Papa: 

You are going to be astonished at receiving a letter from 
Montreal when my residence is at Sanduskj^ City, a loni; dis- 
tance from here. You will ask why I have undertaken such a 
journey in winter through a country where the cold is intense. 
I am willing to answer your questions, but first let me fulfill the 
sweet and pleasant duty of wishing you all spiritual and tem- 
poral happiness at the beginning of the New Year. Yes, dear 
Papa, if the good God will only hear my prayers He will grant 
you perseverance in the holy dispositions which animate you 
now, with good health to prolong your days till I am able to go 
and express verbally to you my gratitude for all your kindness. 


1 shall now satisfy your legitimate curiosity. Among the 
reasons which have induced me to take this journey there is one 
that I need not specify to you further than to say that the good 
Mr. Billaudele, under whom 1 made my studies in the Seminary, 
is here as Superior of the Ecclesiastical Seminary. I alw-a^'^a 
corresponded with him, and his acts of goodness toward your 
"Little Rogue" were so many bonds which drew me notwith- 
standing the distance. 

But you must not think that I his pleasure, as lawful as it 
may be, was sufficient to make me undertake such an expensive 
journey. The real reason that has brought me to Canada is the 
necessity of finding the means to pay the crying debts which I 
created in building my two new churches. For this reason I 
have left my Catholics to Providence and their povertj', and am 
absent since the beginning of November. Bishop Purcell gave 
me a letter of recommendation, which guarantees me an excel- 
lent reception eveiy where. The Bishop of Montreal is himself 
collecting for a hospital, so I went sixty leagues farther to 
Quebec, where I was perfectly well received. I found there six 
hundred families poor and without work, and I could expect 
nothing from them, but the Bishop of Quebec recommended me 
to the wealthy families, to the priests of the city and to the 
Ursuline Nuns. Besides donations of money, I received a pres- 
ent of a magnificent cloak of blue cloth which is most useful to 
me, as the cold has gone this winter to 25 degrees at Montreal 
and 30 at Quebec. 

I have been traveling by "clerical jiost, " that is, from par- 
ish to parish, and begging for the good God. You may well 
think that were it not for this object I would not have under- 
taken such a trip for all the gold of Peru. 

In a parish near Montreal T sang the high mass and preached 
on New Year's Day, and about thirty families contributed to my 
assistance. This is a sample of my work, and in this way I have 
collected enough money to pay about one-half of my debts. I 
do not know where I shall get the rest, but I intend to return to 
the United States and continue my collections. I leave here on 
Tuesday next, and I have 350 leagues to make in spite of th« 
weather. Happily, I am in good health. I Avrite this in a 
hurry, but later I shall give you all the details. 

Mr. Billaudele is in good health also, and I cannot tell you 
how glad T was to see him. He desires me to remember him 
most kindly to you, and you can see that he has not forgotten 
the old epithet of "Little Rogue." You need not worry about 
me. I am hardened now to all kinds of fatigues, bad weather, etc. 


The details promised in this letter were not given 
later, for Father Machebeuf found so nuu^li to do 
upon his return to his parish that no time was left to 
him for a description of the minor incidents of his 
trip, although his family requested a more detailed 
account. We know from other lettters that he got 
enough of the gold of Canada, if not of Peru, to pay 
most of his debts and resume the building of his 

From other sources we learn that he was ship- 
wrecked on this trip and narrowly escaped being lost 
on Lake Ontario. The vessel was driven by a storm 
upon the rocks, but all the crew and passengers suc- 
ceeded in reaching land with great difficulty and no 
lives were lost. They applied for shelter at a farm 
house, where all were kindly received until the owner 
discovered that there was a ''popish priest" among 
his guests. The spirit of Orangeism is not the spirit 
of charity, and this past master in the craft ordered 
Father Machebeuf from his house. This inhuman 
treatment roused the indignation of the other pas- 
sengers, and it would have gone hard with this brute 
in human form if he had not relented and graciously 
allowed Father Machebeuf to sleep o)i the floor! 

A letter to his sister after his return tells of the 
work waiting for him, and of its prosecution in the 
spiritual sense, and also in the temporal sense until 
he had become again thoroughly Americanized by 
the contracting of fresh debts : 

Feast of St. Anne, July 2G, 1843. 
Very Dear Sister: 

It is not without reason that I choose the beautiful feast of 


your patron to write to you. It is now six weeks since I re- 
ceived your letter, and I need your indulgence for not having 
prepared the ''journal of my travels" which you ask for. You 
cannot refuse forgiveness when I say that I take up my j)en after 
having offered the Holy Sacrifice for our good aunt, without 
forgetting Sister Marie Philomene or Papa, or the Gentleman of 
Clermont, our brother. 

I was away from my poor Irish people four months and a 
half. You can form an idea of the work I found on coming 
back just at the beginning of Lent. Catechism every day for 
the children of the first communion class; three instructions a 
week at night for the grown people, among whom were many 
Protestants; then two sermons every Sunday, and all in bad 
English, but that mattered little — I was understood, and that 
was sufficient for me. The second week after Easter I set out to 
visit all my missions, which are growing in a wonderful manner, 
and since then I have done nothing but come and go in order to 
give at least a little satisfaction to ray poor Catholics. That 
which consoles us is that our time is not lost. The good is done 
by the gi-ace of Grod even if we do scarcely more than to pass 
through each congTcgation. 

I shall not give the details of my journey with its adven- 
tures. Let be sufficient to know that I am in good health, al- 
though the same ''Whitey," and that during the trip of 800 
leagues,' and four months and a half of time, I had no other in- 
disposition than a cold for a few days in Canada. On the con- 
trary, I felt better, and that proves that my vocation is to be a 
missionary. Blessed be God for it ! 

My new church at LoAver Sandusky was opened in April, 
It is not yet consecrated, as it is not plastered. I hope to have 
it entirel}' completed before winter. Next Sunday I shall open 
that of Sandusky City, which would do honor to many a parish 
in Auvergne. It is not plastered either, but that does not make 
so much difference, as it is all in stone. I do not know when 
it will be finished, as our present means are exhausted, but I 
have an immense treasure in DiAine Providence. I began it 
with two dollars, and in less than two years I have expended 
on it nearly $4,000 in money, work and material, and besides 
this the walls of my house are finished and the frame of the 
roof is ready to go up. It is true that I am again at the bot- 
tom of the sack and have a number of little debts, but I am not 
discouraged at that. Blessed are the poor! Every time that 
I see Father Lamy we say, as the people of Aubieres: "Latsin 
pas ! ' '—Never give up ! 


Father Lamy is well and hearty. Father Cheymol wrote 
me last week that he and his pastor are likewise in good health. 

I was about to forget Bishop Purcell. He has gone to 
Europe to collect for his new cathedral, but we do not know 
to what country. 

In regard to publishing my letters, I believe I told you 
long ago that if there was anything in them that would serve 
for the glory of God and the edification of the faithful, I could 
not object, but then I would not care to have you publish more 
than extracts from them. 

The publication of extracts from the letters of 
Father Machebeuf did not take place. Events occur- 
ring immediately after the reception of this letter 
prevented it, and not until years afterwards was 
there an occasional note published in the Semaine 
Religeuse of Clermont. Yet these letters would 
have made edifying reading, and, no doubt, would 
have aroused the missionary spirit in many a zealoui 
young levite and materially increased the number of 
priests in the early Ohio missions. Even at this dis- 
tant day they should do good, for the same necessity 
for priests exists, although their work has changed 
in form. Preaching, teaching and the care of souls 
is a want as crying today as ever, and the increase of 
population has counterbalanced the narrowing of 
parish limits. Almost everywhere new churches are 
to be built, and in the West especially there are few 
priests past middle age who have not done, or may 
not yet be doing, similar work to that which Fath- 
er Machebeuf did in Ohio sixty odd years ago. 


Life's Sacred Moments.— News of His Father's Illness. 
Plans to Return to France. — Disappointment. — A Sad Winter. 
Arrival Home. 

There are passages in the life of every one which 
are too sacred for public gaze, and the making of 
them known can be justified only by extraordinary 
reasons. We have come now upon one of these oc- 
casions in the life of Father Machebeuf, and we 
would pass it over with a mere statement of fact 
were it not that it gives us a glimpse into his very 
interior life and reveals a depth of feeling which 
none but his most intimate friends would suspect. It 
shows, too, how he could subordinate his own feelings 
to other considerations when necessary, and suppress 
his own pain in order to comfort others. It was dur- 
ing the last illness and death of his beloved father 
when, in the torture of suspense, and later when the 
blow had fallen, he couldi rise above his own grief to 
console his aunt, his brother and his sister, while at 
the same time he would have given worlds to ex- 
change places with them, were it only for a day. 

The series of letters covering this sad event will 
constitute this short chapter by themselves. News 
of his father's serious illness and hopeless condition 
came to him from his sister, and it came with no 
gradual breaking — his father was sick, and sick unto 
death was the message, and he accepted it as an 
announcement bearing the final summons. His letter 
to his sister on this occasion was as follows : 


Sandusky City, October 23, 1843. 
Verj' Dear Sister: 

Until now your letters have always been for me a source 
of great pleasure, but when your last came only eight days 
after the one of August 24, a secret dread seized me, and the 
reading of your letter proved it to be well founded. What 
pain was not mine when I learned of the sad condition to which 
that best of fathers is reduced — the one to whom after God I 
owe everything that I have in this world? In spite of the de- 
tachment and resignation which should cliaracterize a mission- 
ary of Jesus Christ, I could not hold back the tears which would 
force themselves when I thought of the danger that threatened 
this father, so good, so affectionate and so dear. Only motives 
of faith and religion could avail to bring me strength or com- 
fort, for they tell us that if he is taken from us in time he will 
be given back to us in eternity. I shall make all haste to re- 
turn, but if I am too late for the consolation of seeing him on 
earth, I hope to meet him in heaven where we shall never sepa- 

In the absence of Bishop Purcell, who will not retuni until 
some time next month, I have written to the Vicar General, 
telling him of the reasons Avhich oblige me to return to France, 
and asking his permission to be absent until the beginning of 
Lent. I expect his answer next week, and as soon as it comes 
I shall write to you telling you of his decision and when I shall 
start. When that letter reaches j^ou I wish you would write to 
me at Havre, so that I shall have news of our dear Papa imme- 
diately upon my arrival there, and a couple of days later at 

I am writing after having offered up the holy sacrifice for 
him, and I shall redouble my zeal and earnestness in prayer 
for his spiritual and temporal solace and improvement. I have 
written to my confreres asking them to pray for him, and I shall 
not pass a single day without praying most particularly for him. 

I trust that it is not necessary for me to counsel you resig- 
nation and submission to the will of God, but I ask you not to 
neglect in your own grief to console our dear aunt and our 
brother, who are witnesses to his suffering's without being able 
to relieve them. A few lines from you to the dear one himself, 
whom also you cannot see, would be a consolation. 

Good-bye for the present; I hope to be with you ere long 
to render my last duties to our dear father, if that be God's 
will. Pray without ceasing for him. Please give him the en- 
closed Tinte fi-om me if it be not too late. 


Very Dear and Beloved Papa : 

It is with a trembling hand that I write these few words 
dictated by affection and gratitude. Shall I have the consola- 
tion of knowing that they have reached you? It is one thing 
which I hope for from that sweet and loving Providence which 
has ever specially favored me. Oh, how I hope that the good 
God will prolong, at least a few weeks, a life which is so dear 
to us! Yes, I wish to bless you once more and receive your 
benediction before God calls you to Himself. This letter will 
precede me only a few days, for I have the confidence that our 
sweet Saviour will grant me the consolation of bringing to you 
the last helps of religion, but if it be the holy will of God that 
you should go to Him before I reach your bedside— if I must 
be deprived of the sad happiness of holding you once more in 
my arms — let us bow befo:^e His adorable designs and fear to 
offend Him by murmurs unworthy of Christians. Be assured 
that when death comes it will find you laden with the grateful 
and loving benedictions of your entire family, who will never 
cease to pray for you. Yes, we hope to obtain for you a holy 
and happy death, followed by the eternal recompense of a good 
life. It is especially in the Sacrifice of the Mass that the Body 
and Blood of Jesus Christ, sacrificed for you, will intercede for 
you before the Sovereign Judge. Confidence, then, in the mercy 
of God which is infinite; confidence in his divine Mother who 
prays for you, protects you, and will conduct you to the Port 
of Salvation. This is the most ardent wish of your most de- 
voted and most affectionate son. 

Adieu, dear Papa; we shall meet in this world, I hope, but 
if not, then in heaven. 

This was Father Machebeuf s last direct fare- 
well to his father. The permission to go was granted 
to him only upon conditions impossible of fulfillment 
at the time, and before any favorable turn came in 
the peculiarly painful circumstances in which Father 
Machebeuf found himself his father had passed away 
from earth, let us hope, to the bosom of God. 

The inability of hastening to the side of his dying 
father was a sore trial for Father Machebeuf, yet he 
made the sacrifice as he had made so many others, 


and, although liis own heart was breaking, he tried to 
console the loved ones at home in their impending 
loss and his unavoidable absence. He explained the 
circumstances that prevented his going and laid no 
blame upon any one, although a few months later he 
was granted by Bishop Purcell without conditions 
the permission which was refused by the Vicar Gen- 
eral. When the answer to his request for leave of 
absence came from Cincinnati he wrote the following 
letter to his sister: 

Sandusky City, Nov. 10, 1843. 
Very Dear Sister: 

In my last letter, answering yours telling me the sad news 
of our dear father's illness, I promised to start at once for 
France, but man proposes and God disposes. Writing under 
the weight of sorrow over the condition of him to whom I owe 
everj'thing in this world, I did not foresee the insurmountable 
obstacles in the way of my leaving. The Vicar General could 
not allow my mission to remain without attendance, and I 
could find no one to care for it in my absence. Laborers and 
mechanics are at work on my church and presbytery, and the 
contracts must be fulfilled, and none of my confreres is able to 
assume the obligations in my place. Winter is upon us and the 
voyage in December would be full of danger, but I care not for 
that if all else were well. I am almost ashamed to acknowledge 
that my greatest difficulty would be to find the $200 necessary 
to pay my way, while I have not five dollars in my possession. 
If I had even that much there would be twenty persons to ask 
for it. 

Oh, how helpless I feel myself! and it almost looks as if I 
were excusing myself for a lack of affection, but I am forced 
to make this last sacrifice of ever again seeing our good father. 
Might it not also be that such a sacrifice would find favor with 
God, and He would prolong his life until such time as a voyage 
is possible? For the present we must submit to the Divine 
Will which imposes this privation upon us. Pray, yes pray 
with all the fervor possible that the good God may grant him 
all the graces necessaiy at that awful and supreme moment. I 
shall ask this every day at the altar, through the merits of our 
divine Mother. 


Do not fail to write me as soon as you receive this, and give 
me news of our dear Papa often, ('harf^o oui- good aunt, whose 
devotion and attachment are so well known to me, to renew to 
him the assurance of my gratitude and most filial affection. 
Tell him that I pray for him without ceasing and I think of 
him every moment of the day. As for my aunt and Marius, I 
know their hearts too well to doubt of their attention and 
anxious care of our dear patient. Console them with every 
motive of faith, and assure them of my sympathy in our com- 
mon SOITOW. 

The weeks of winter dragged wearily and pain- 
fully for Father Machebeuf. Until his sister could 
receive this letter they would be expecting him home 
and would not write. Twice, then, must letters cross 
the Atlantic before lie could expect any news, and 
in those days that meant months for a mid-winter 
journey from Sandusky to Riom and return. He 
made up his mind to the inevitable. To him his 
father was the same as dead, and he waited but for 
the confirmation of his death in the next letter. But, 
oh! how long and cheerless winter was! 

Spring came at last, and with it came two let- 
ters — one from his sister and another from his broth- 
er, and both brought the same sad news, which ended 
the agony of suspense by the sharper agony of cer- 
tainty that the life of his loved "Papa" on earth had 
ended. The cry of his heart went out when he wrote 
again in answer to these letters. 

To his sister he says : 

Forgive me even the short delay in answering your letter 
which brought me the sad news of the loss of our dearly be- 
loved Papa. I was stricken as with lightning by the an- 
nouncement of the misfortune, and I, whose duty as a priest and 
the eldest of the family should have been to console you and 
inspire you with sentiments of resignation— I could not con- 


trol tlio iMm)tioMs stirred up within me by this heart reiuhng 
news. How my lieart wished to he with you durinp: these last 
few n>oiitlis, vet 1 dared not tell you so lest I should ai^s-ravate 
your already' too heavy sulTerinfr! In the strutrj^^le 1 fould not 
si»eak, hut now in ealnier nuunents 1 can write and tell you that 
if you have suffeied mueli from the nearer view of the pad- 
uaf hut sure ai)|)roaeh of the messen.ner of death. I have not 
suffered less in n\v ahsenee and anxiety. 

At last eireuiiistanees have ehan.iied. and, altiiougli late, 1 
have the i)ermission of the Bish(.p. The danirers of naviiration 
have passed, and my last but not least ditlieulty you have re- 
moved by seiulintr me the money to pay my passa.ixe. 
I must thank vou for that, for I have been extremely poor these 
hard times when we must sulTer e(iually with our poor people. 
I nm in my new house, hut 1 have a considerable debt on it and 
on my ehureh. 1 shall leave here in May. and, with the help of 
God, I shall be with you in .Inly. 

Tell t)ur i,'ood aimt how mueh I rei,n-et the pam my absence 
caused her, but 1 di.l not foruet to pray for her, and for our 
dear father an<l the whole family. Often did I oiler the Holy 
Saeriliee for this intention, and 1 am sure that you did not for- 
go\ to luay with Iho same mind. 

To his hrotluM- lio adds: 

My sister's letter of Feb. I'J, was received the same week 
as yonVs written a month later, and I send you a note under 
cover of my answer to her, to thank you for the $223, which 
reached me in all safety. Without it I could not now under- 
take the voyaire. My sister will tell yon of my itlans now al- 
most delinitelv settled for my trip. 

I put oir lellini: you many until we have the happi- 
ness of meelintr, when we may olTer to each other a little nni- 
tual consolation in the loss that has come to us. I heard that 
you went to see our uood father often to bear bim company 
and cheer him up, ami that yon embraced him for me and as- 
sured him of mv alTedion. . . 

Excuse this short letter, but before iroinu: 1 must visit my 
missions once nuu-e, and put the accounts of my church and 
house in order, but I shall start as soon as is morally possible. 

Adieu I Tray for your devoted and alTectionatc brother. 

Diiriiii;- this winter of suspense and anxious wait- 
ing Father Machebeuf did not neglet't his work. That 


went on, and liis zeal was rewarded by at least five 
converts. He had the practice of giving away books 
on religious topics, and he had the practice also of 
praying for those who were in darkness and the 
shadow of death, and of asking others to pray for 
them. He had four societies connected with his 
church, and the last of them, established this winter, 
was the Confraternity of the Rosary for the conver- 
sion of sinners. One of his strong societies was his 
total abstinence society, of which he himself became 
a member as a matter of encouragement to others, 
and he speaks with evident pleasure of the 150 mem- 
bers who went to communion in a body. 

During his absence he had no one to replace him 
constantly and keep up his work, but he secured the 
promise of some of the neighboring priests to visit 
his people once a month and show them that they 
were not entirely abandoned. 

At the end of May he went to Chillicothe to meet 
Bishop Purcell, who wished to entrust him with some 
important commissions. At Chillicothe he expected 
to meet Fathers Gacon and Cheymol, to whom he had 
written, but in this he was disappointed, for he says, 
' ' they are living like hermits, unwilling to come out 
of tlieir cells." His bosom friend, Father Lamy, 
came all the way to Sandusky to visit him and console 
him, and even promised to pay an occasional visit to 
the mission in his absence. 

The final arrangements were to confer with two 
Alsatian priests who were also going home for the 
first time in fifteen years, and they wished to make 


the voyage all together. They appointed a rendez- 
vous in the city of New York for the third Sunday in 
June, and they would take the first boat for France 
after that date. They left New York on the 26th of 
June, and a very favorable voyage of seventeen days 
brought them to Havre on July 13, 1844. 

Father Machebeuf had some special business for 
the Diocese of Cincinnati which caused him a delay 
of some days at Boulogne, but as soon as this was 
accomplished he hastened to Eiom, where for the 
present we leave him in the midst of his sorrowing 
relatives, to whom his return was like the light of 
another day after a night of gloom. 


Going to Rome. — Types of Travelers.— Visits Rome's Won- 
ders.— Audience with Pope Gregory XVI. — At Loretto, Venice, 
Milan, Turin. — The Ursulines of Beaulieu. — Appeals to the 
Royal Family for Aid.— Prepares to Return. — Corpus Christi 
on Board Ship.— New York to Cincinnati.— Installs the Ursu- 
lines at Fayetteville. — Home Again.— Renewed Activity, 

The saying that all roads lead to Eome is as 
true now as it was in ancient times, and just as many- 
people travel upon them. Father Machebeuf re- 
mained with his family long enough to console them 
and to arrange for the legal settlement of the family 
estate, and then he thought of satisfying a desire 
which is common to all priests, that of going to Rome 
to visit the Father of the Faithful, and of looking 
upon the great monuments of every age of Chris- 
tianity from the days of the Apostles down to the 
present. This was also a part of his plan when he 
left America, and Bishop Purcell gave him some com- 
missions, besides letters of introduction and recom- 
mendation to several influential persons in Rome and 
other Italian cities. 

It was October before he could undertake this 
journey, and then he made it by slow stages. At Ly- 
ons he had some special business to transact, and 
purchases of church ornaments to make. The trip 
from Lyons to Marseilles was made by boat, with a 
stop at Avignon, once the residence of the Popes. 

Accustomed as he was to American modes of 
travel, Father Machebeuf could not help commenting 


unfavorably upon the lack of comfort on the French 
boats He found no private cabins or special state- 
rooms, but passengers, baggage and freight were 
mixed up pell-mell, and even vehicles were stowed 
away wherever place could be found for them with 
no thought of order or convenience. Several such 
were on this boat, for many, especially foreig-ners 
then traveled with their own conveyances and took 
advantage of the boats on the rivers to advance the 
more rapidly with less fatigue over the longer 
stages of their journey. 

Among the passengers there were many English, 
and they were glad of the company of Father Mache- 
beuf, as he spoke English, and they were continually 
applving to him for information and the history ot 
plac;s and objects of which, he says, he was as igno- 
rant as thev were. One elderly Englishman seemed 
particularly taken with him, but he would persist m 
attempting to converse in French, with equal torture 
to the lang-uage and to Father Machebeuf , for the pur- 
pose, as he said, of getting a practical French lesson. 
The conversation turaed npon France, England, 
America, politics and religion, and upon all these 
subjects this Protestant Englishman agreed' with 
Father Machebeuf in everything until they spoke ot 
Eno-lish rule in Ireland. Here the Englishman flared 
up and declared himself unalterably opposed to the 
Repeal Bill. If the bill were to pass, said he, the 
Catholics would immediately take away the property 
of the Protestants. Father Machebeuf asked hnn 
why should the Catholics take away their property/ 


what property it was, and where did the Protestants 
get the property which they were afraid of losing? 
At this the Englishman muttered some incoherent 
reply and went to hide himself in his chaise, where 
he remained until Father Machebeuf left the boat 
at Avignon. 

Another English family, but a more polite one, 
stopped off at Avignon like himself, and they were 
glad of his company, as they did not speak French 
and made no pretensions to do so, nor did they desire 
to take any lessons from him. 

After visiting the ruins of the Palace of the 
Popes and other monuments they invited him to dine 
with them. It was Saturday, but the law of absti- 
nence on Saturday was still in force in France, and 
the English family could not understand why Father 
Machebeuf refused to eat the chicken while he did 
not scruple to order and eat eggs without any qualm 
of conscience. Father Machebeuf asked them if they 
would be willing to forego the chicken and make their 
dinner on eggs. To this they gave a decided nega- 
tive. "Then," said Father Machebeuf, ''you ac- 
knowledge that there is a difference, and in this you 
will perceive the privation. If I desire to practice 
this little mortification in sympathy with my suffer- 
ing Saviour, do you find anything blamable in it?" 
They acknowledged that they had never before looked 
upon it in quite that light, but had regarded it as a 
mere church regulation without any reference to 
Christ. Before separating they gave Father Mache- 
beuf their address in London and urged him to visit 
them, and he gave them his address in Sandusky, as 


they said that they intended to visit America the fol- 
lowing year. As a matter of fact he never met them 

Rome was the Mecca on the Continent of all 
these travelers, and of nearly all tourists doing Eu- 
rope. They visited other cities and places of inter- 
est on the way, but it was in a perfunctory manner 
only. These places were looked over because they 
came in their way — Rome must be visited or their 
trip would be lacking its main point of interest. In 
their slow movements none of Father Machebeuf's 
fellow-travelers on the boat overtook him in his more 
rapid schedule. 

He arrived in Rome in the early part of Novem- 
ber, and with his letters of introduction he found no 
difficulty m making the acquaintance of many who 
helped him in his desire to see Rome. There was a 
fomier French army officer who was preparing for 
sacred orders, and with him Father Machebeuf spent 
a week. The Abbe Brosseur, who in his younger days 
before he became a priest was a collaborator with de 
Lamennais and Lacordaire on the Avenir, took an in- 
terest in him, and he met some French priests whom 
he had known in Canada. These were all familiar 
with Rome, and thus he was able to see much of the 
Holy City during his three weeks' sojourn in that 
ancient and venerated capital of the Christian world. 

Many times he visited St. Peter's, and each time 
it seemed to grow more and more upon him. He 
mounted to the dome, and even to the ball at the 
foot of the cross which, he says, Tvould hold ten per- 


sons. He descended into the crypts and said mass 
upon the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. He did 
the same in the room where St. Ignatius lived, and 
upon the altars of St. Stanislaus and St. Francis 
Xavier. Also in St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran 
and at other shrines of world-wide celebrity. He 
saw and venerated the sacred table upon which Our 
Lord established the Blessed Eucharist, and the altar 
upon which St. Peter offered the Holy Sacrifice. He 
went down into the Mamertine prison where Peter 
was immured ; he saw the colunm to which the Saint 
was chained; he drank from the spring which burst 
forth for the baptism of Peter's jailor; he gathered 
up as a precious relic a little of the dust from the 
ground upon which St. Peter lay, and also from the 
spot where his cross was raised. There were but 
few of the famous sanctuaries which he missed where 
time permitted a visit. 

He saw the Coliseum where 10,000 pagan specta- 
tors often gathered to witness the torture of the 
Christian martyrs, the Pantheon which the jDagans 
dedicated to all the gods and the Christians to all the 
Saints, and the arches of Titus, Septimus Severus 
and of Constantine, and many other monuments of 
sacred and profane interest. 

The great event of his visit was his audience 
with His Holiness, Pope Gregory XVI, on November 
17. The Holy Father was greatly interested in his 
account of the missions, and gave him the apostolic 
benediction for himself and his flock, and Father 
Machebeuf still further remembered his flock by ask- 


ing the Pontiff to bless for them the supply of rosa- 
ries, crosses and medals with which he had provided 
himself for the purpose and occasion. 

The interview made a lasting impression upon 
him, and the words of the Holy Father— " Courage, 
American ! "—were never forgotten by Father Mach- 
ebeuf, who often recalled them afterwards, and al- 
ways with a strengthening effect. 

From Rome his intinerar}- was to Loretto and 
Ancona, thence by steamer on the Adriatic to Venice, 
and home through Milan, Turin, Chambery, Grenoble 
and Lyons. In most of these places he had busmess 
which gave him an opportunity of seeing some of the 
sights, which he could not have done othemise, for 
he had very little money to spend for the mere curios- 
ity of travel. He tells us that he traveled on the boats 
in France because it was cheap, and how he saved 
money in Rome, where his room cost him 15 cents a 
day, his breakfast 4 cents, dinner 25 cents and he 
supped "by heart." 

His visit to Rome was one of faith, for upon 
every side he saw things which spoke of the struggles 
and triumphs of the Church, of the conflict between 
the faith of Christ and paganism, heresy, mfidelity 
and error during 1800 years, and something was 
there to mark the grave of eveiy cause, and of every 
individual choosing it, against Christ and His 
Church. Father ^rachebeuf took note of these 
things, and his own faith grew warm and stirred 
witliin him as he had never before felt its action. 

At Loretto his visit was one of wonderful edifi- 


cation. His account shows that he was literally over- 
whelmed at jfinding himself in the house where ' ' The 
Word Was Made Flesh" and lived for thirty years; 
where the Archangel Gabriel came to announce to 
Mary that she was to become the mother of the Re- 
deemer ! These were the same walls, the same roof, 
the same windows, and the same little hearth where 
the Blessed Virgin must have prepared the daily food 
of Him Who nourishes the world ! And the miracle 
of its preservation ! He saw the walls resting upon 
no foundation, with even vacant spaces between 
them and the pavement beneath them, while the white 
sculptured marble which covered the exterior walls 
stood away from the walls as from something too 
sacred to be touched ! How happy he was there where 
Jesus was obedient to His parents, where He grew in 
wisdom and grace as He grew in age, where He 
spoke at His leisure with Mary and Joseph of the 
kingdom of His Father, and where Mary laid up in 
her heart the words of Divine Wisdom. Wliat con- 
solation and fervor did he experience in kissing the 
venerable bricks which recalled such precious souve- 

All this he tells in letters of which the above is 
the substance, but he says that his words can give but 
a shadow of what he felt at this holy house of Naza- 
reth. Twice he said mass upon an altar resplendent 
with gold and precious stones, and he had another 
supply of beads and medals blessed there and he gath- 
ered a little of the dust from the walls as a relic from 
the sacred place. To keep his memory of all these 


things fresh in order to make these wonders known 
to pious souls, he bought there a little book giving an 
authentic account of the translation of the sacred edi- 
fice from Nazareth to Loretto. The iconoclastic 
critics had not begun to waste their time and talents 
in futile attempts to discredit the miracle of the 
translation of the Holy House, and Father Mache- 
beuf was too devoted a client of the Blessed Virgin 
to have listened to any vain argument against the 
venerable tradition. 

At Venice he delayed but a short time, yet long 
enough to see its grand Cathedral, the Doge's Palace, 
and to sail upon its romantic canals. His route from 
Turin was over the Pass of Mont Cenis to Lyons, 
where he spent all the money he had left in buying 
more vestments and furnishings for liis mission 

In his letters, which but interpreted his feelings, 
Father Machebeuf had many times bewailed the fact 
that the condition of the missions, the work of the 
missionaries and the consoling fruit of their labors, 
were so little known in Europe. If these things were 
known as they were in reality, this knowledge would 
arouse tlie zeal of many and direct their steps in the 
path of the few who had gone to labor in the missions 
where there was so much to be done, and where the 
work was growing out of all proportion with the 
number of the priests. Wherever he went he did not 
now fail to speak of his missions, and his words had 
their effect. At Rome he received the offer of a young 
man, whom he speaks of as -an Irish student of the 


highest talent and piety," and whom he left there 
preparing for the doctorate in theology. At Venice 
he found a French priest anxious to go to America, 
and in France he inspired several others with his 
missionary spirit. Some of these accompanied him 
on his return to America, and some, unable to come 
then, waited a more opportune time and followed 

This was among the commissions given him by 
Bishop Purcell, and another was to try to secure a 
teaching order of Sisters for an academy in Ohio. 
For this latter purpose he addressed himself to the 
Ursulines of Beaulieu in Correze, not far from his 
own home in Auvergne. Through some misunder- 
standing at Beaulieu he was arrested by the gens 
d'armes for a supposed intended violation of some of 
the complicated regulations of the government in re- 
gard to religious foundations, but through the good 
offices of a brother of one of the nuns he was released. 
What those regulations were is hard to find out now, 
but when the nuns started to America some of them 
were obliged to steal away from their convent in lay 
attire disguised as servants, carrying their uniform 
tied up in their bundles to Paris, where they again 
resumed their religious garb. 

The project of founding a religious house of 
their community so far away was a momentous un- 
dertaking, and the good nuns could not decide upon 
it without advice, consideration and prayer. Father 
Machebeuf tells us how they prayed and deliberated. 
In a letter to his sister he says : 


I have good news of the work in hand. It is now defin- 
itely decided. The whole community has been prayinsr for a 
long time to know the will of God in regard to a foundation in 
America. The result of their prayers has been that the two or 
three who were indifferent are now as anxious as the rest, and 
four or five of the most capable sisters are sighing for the oppor- 
tunity of following the attraction which God has g^ven them for 
the foreign missions. I have had reason to admire the fervor, 
the zeal, and above all, the union and chanty which reign in 
this community. It is a veritable family where the Superior 
is their mother by many titles. The sisters were all educated 
at Beaulieu under her and here they made their profession. I 
much regret that her health will not permit her to follow her 
dear daughters, as she calls them. 

There is here also an old religious who came as a novice at 
the founding of the house before the great Revolution. She 
has been professed G2 years, and she is willing to go, but, of 
course, such a thing would be impossible. I never saw such 
courage in a woman of 79 years. She did not know our plans, 
but she suspected there was something going on, and she never 
ceased to pray that the will of God might be done. She is a 
person of extraordinary virtue, and spends most of her time 
before the Blessed Sacrament, and for more than twenty-five 
years she has been a daily communicant. It brought tears to 
my eyes to hear her speak of the pleasure of living and laboring 
for God. For many reasons I thank God a thousand times for 
having directed me to Beaulieu. 

Besides being animated by great fervor, these religious are 
very talented, and there are four or five of them who are so in 
a marked degree. I do not know if they will all go at the same 
time with me, or if some may not remain to settle their tem- 
poral aflfaii's. Tomorrow I go with their ecclesiastical superior 
to make some final arrangements with the Bishop of Tulle. I saw 
him before, and he told me he would be most happy to favor 
Bishop Purcell, whom he knows, by sending him as many sub- 
jects as he could spare. 

It was arrano:ed that the Convent of Beaiilieu 
would send out eis^lit sisters with him, while four 
more would come from another house of their order 
at Boulogne. He also secured a colony of the Sisters 
of Notre Dame, who set sail from Antwerp accom- 


panied by a priest and a seminarian whom he sent to 
guide and assist them in their long voyage. For his 
own party he kept with him Father Peudeprat, whom 
he hoped to have with himself in his missions, and 
two seminarians from St. Flour for the Diocese of 

The question of money to pay the expenses of 
his party was now a serious matter with Father 
Machebeuf, and it caused him no little worry. He 
was a good beggar, but it was a severe test of his tal- 
ent as such to provide sufficient funds for his needs 
in the present circumstances. In the partial settle- 
ment of his family affairs he had received some 
means which he used for present purposes, and he 
appealed to his friends and other well disposed per- 
sons for more. *'I do not know," he says, ''what 
success I shall have with the Royal Family, but I 
have written to all of them, beginning with the King, 
then his sister, Madame Adelaide, the Duke 
D'Aumale, who is so rich, and the Princess of Join- 
ville, who is an American. The Queen has not sent 
me the little assistance she promised. Perhaps it 
wiJl all come at the same time, and perhaps — 
nothing! But I lose nothing by asking." 

Tf the King gave him anything Father Mache- 
beuf did not consider it worthy of mention, for two 
weeks later he says: ''Yesterday the Cure of the 
Royal Parish promised to remind the King and 
Queen of my request, but I do not expect much from 
them. Madame Adelaide gave me^ — Guess how much. 
About 2000 francs, you say? Just cut off one zero! 


The 2000 francs would liave been little enough with 
all her wealth." 

It was the first of May before he gathered to- 
gether all his party at Havre ready to embark. They 
were fifteen in number, and of these, eleven were the 
Ursuline Nuns for the new foundation in Ohio. In 
consideration of the large number the Captain of the 
ship made a reduction of 200 francs from the regular 
price for each passenger, and carried them for 450 
francs, besides earning free all the baggage, of 
which they had sixty-five trunks and boxes. 

Of the return voyage Father Machebeuf gave 
but a short account, but the Sisters wrote a fuller 
report, and from this we select the more interesting 
portions and condense them into a continued narra- 
tive. They were written to their Superior and Sis- 
ters at Beaulieu : 

On Sunday, May 4, we went aboard the ship Zurich, which 
was to bear us away from our beloved country into the un- 
known New World. They told us that we were lucky in the choice 
of our vessel, for the Zurich is one of the largest and best 
equipped sailing vessels on the sea. Our rooms are small but 
comfortable, and we have the exclusive use of the ladies' cabin, 
which is large and separated from the general cabin. 

At one end of the cabin we have put up a little altar, and 
we have two masses everj- day when the sea is not too rough. 
"We had some bad weather, and it once happened for a whole 
week, including two Sundays, when Father Machebeuf did not 
think it prudent to attempt to say mass. With this exception 
we have made our commimions just the same as in community. 
Everj- evening we had our May devotions, and we had also the 
happiness of having the Blessed Sacrament in the room of 
our Mother Superior the whole time of the voyage, where we 
made our adoration every day, and during the octave of Corpus 
Christi we had perpetual adoration. 

Our celebration of Corpus Christi was quite solemn, and 
so far out of the common that it deserves to be described. 


Father Machebeuf had a very pretty little ostensorium, and 
after mass he gave the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, 
for which we sang- the hymns in a subdued tone so as not to 
disturb the Protestants. He then put the Blessed Sacrament 
in a little ciborium not bigger than your hand, and we formed 
a procession with Father Peudeprat and the two seminarians 
caiTying lighted candles, and thus we marched to Mother's room 
where the Blessed Sacrament was put in a little mahogany box 
securely fastened on a shelf, and there we considered it ex- 
posed for our adorations. 

Father Machebeuf called it our Corpus Christi procession, 
and he remarked that this was, perhaps, the first time that it 
had ever been made on the ocean. To tell you the sentiments 
that filled our hearts during this ceremony would be impossible. 
Your own feelings and piety will suggest to you what they 
must have been. 

At the entrance of the harbor of New York a steamboat 
came out to take off the passengers and we left the Zurich at 5 
o'clock p. m., on June 2, 1845. An hour later our feet touched 
the soil of America, having last touched land in our native 
France just 29 days before. Eveiy one was surprised at our 
quick trip, except one gentleman, who gallantly remarked that 
it should not be a matter of surprise, as the Zurich carried 
eleven more voiles (the same word means sails and veils,) than 
any other vessel. 

A conveyance took us to the house of a French Catholic 
lady near the French church of St. Vincent de Paul. In this 
church we heard mass and performed our exercises of piety 
every day during the eight days which we spent in New York. 

From New York we went to Philadelphia partly by steam- 
boat and partly by railroad, and then again by boat to Balti- 
more. We remained two days at Baltimore at the Convent of 
the Visitation, and then started on the last long and most 
fatiguing portion of our journey. We went by rail from Balti- 
more to Cumberland, Avhere we took stages for a two days' ride 
over the mountains to Wheeling on the Ohio river. 

After resting there two days we were ready again for the 
onward march. Many of the people of Wheeling, including 
Protestants, wished us to remain and open a school there, but 
that was not possible, and with many regrets on their side and 
lively feelings of gratitude on ours, we went on board the 
steamer "Independence," which was to take us directly to 
Cincinnati. The weather was so hot that we could not occupy 
our rooms at night with any comfort, so we slept on deck in 


the open air. Finally, on June 10, we reached Cincinnati, where 
we were received by the g-ood Bishop Purcell as by a father who 
was receiving home again his long absent children. 

During all tliis long voyage Father Machebeuf was our 
guide, our provider, our servant, our messenger, our guardian 
angel, our spiritual father, in fact he Avas everything to us and 
we were like helpless cliildren on his hands. 

We stayed in Cincinnati at the house of a Mrs. Conn for a 
whole month, when, on July 21, still under the guidance cf 
Father Machebeuf, we went to Fayetteville in Brown county. 

Father Machebeuf felt much interest in these Sis- 
ters, wlio had come to America at his representations 
and who had been so long under his care that he 
could not leave them until he saw them comfortably 
settled. He felt that it was his duty to help them, 
and to cheer them up in their exile, and he remained 
with them in their new and final location until about 
the middle of August. These few weeks gave them 
an opportunity of examining their surroundings and 
judging of their prospects, and their obserA'ations 
resulted in their becoming so thoroughly American- 
ized that they could close their long letter by saying : 

One thing will show you the zeal of the Catholics here, and 
that is the way they impoi-tune us to take their little boys. 
They have none but Protestant schools, and they tell us that 
in these they cannot get the proper instruction for their chil- 
dren. Oh ! if the priests and religious of France knew the 
need that America has of tiieir labor, we have not a single 
doubt that many of them would not hesitate to tear themselves 
away from the bosom of their own country and hasten to come 
here and work for the glory of God in this vast field. And, 
moreover, we have no doubt that if your parents and friends 
had a correct idea of I''"'ayetteville, and of all the good that you 
could do here, they would gladly consent to make the sacrifice 
of j'ou to God Who has done so much for them. Now that we 
have seen, we are not afraid to afl'irm that in France they have 
a false idea of America. As for us, we are delighted to be 
here, and we would not change our lot for anything in the 


The return of Father Machebeuf to Sandusky 
City after an absence of fourteen months was the 
cause of great rejoicing among his people, who had 
been but poorly and irregularly attended during all 
that time. The material part of his parish had been 
lying as dead, and the spiritual part was far less vig- 
orous than before his departure. There had been an 
increase in the number of families, but they had not 
been visited by priests in their own homes, whilst the 
preachers had been active, and much of their activity 
was spent among the Catholics. They had gained 
some influence over a few of the members of the con- 
gregation, and one young woman they had succeeded 
in perverting entirely. In vain did Father Mache^ 
beuf try to recall her, but let us listen to him when he 
speaks of the ''veritable wolves in the garments of 
the shepherd ' ' : 

A young woman, reared by Protestants from the time she 
was ten years old, but professing the Catholic religion, has been 
persuaded to join the Methodists. Do not be scandalized if I 
speak of revenge. The honor of religion demanded it and I 
took it, and I have the consolation of saying that I took it with 
good measure. All of the ministers of the city did their utmost 
to entice my people to their churches, but I made them pay 
dearly for their temerity, for I have I'eceived into the bosom of 
the Catholic Church four Episcopalians, among whom was Mrs. 
Mills, the wife of one of the wealthiest men in Sandusky, five 
Presbyterians and two Methodists. There are considerable 
other breaches to be repaired, and, like, the Israelites after their 
captivity, I must work with the trowel in one hand and the 
sword in the other. 

The spiritual good of his missions required the 
greater portion of Father Machebeuf 's time and 
care. His seven stations called for immediate atten- 
tion ; the older members must be brought to the sac- 


raments, and the younger members must be instnict- 
ed and prepared for the same. Then, his buildings 
must be looked after, and, to add to his work. Bishop 
Purcell gave him charge of the new parish of Nor- 
walk, where the unfinished church was about to be 
sold for debt by a fanatic from whom some of the ma- 
terial had been obtained on credit. 

All this work took time, but Father Machebeuf 
was successful upon all sides. He gave himself up 
so completely to his work that he had not even time 
to cori'espond regularly wih the members of his fam- 
ily, and when they complained of his apparent neg- 
lect, he said : 

You are well enough acquainted with me to know that when 
I undertake a thing I give myself to it and cannot occupy myself 
with anything not connected with it. When I was in France I 
was wholly engaged in the business which brought me there, to 
the neglect of my American affairs, and you had no reproach 
for me on that account. Now all my attention and all my efforts 
must, for a time, be for America. If you were to see the pitia- 
ble condition of my churches, and the difficulties that I have 
to put them in order, you would not wonder that I leave it to 
the good Ursulines to give you news of me. And if you saw 
the vice and disorders which have crept into my parish during 
my absence, and which would become incurable in a very short 
time if I did not hasten to apply the remedies, you would not 
be hurt if I were to reply to your complaints in the words of 
the Holy Child Jesus: "Did you not know that I must be 
about the business of My Father Who is in Heaven?" 


Cold Comfort. — Churches Blessed.— Excess of Good Will. 
Christmas Celebration. — New Diocese of Cleveland. — Faith in 
Europe and America.- Appeal for Priests. — New Buildings. 
Fears for France. — The Famine in Ireland. — Embarrassments. 
Visit of Father De Smet.— Almost an Indian Missionary.— Bet- 
ter Prospects. — Father Lamy Made Bishop.— Father Machebeuf 
His Vicar General.— Leaves Sandusky.— A River Steamer. 
"Into the Keeping of Providence." 

Father Machebeuf thought that he was bringing 
an assistant with him from France in the person of 
the Rev. Peter Peudeprat, who accompanied him 
from Clermont to Cincinnati and Sandusky. The 
assistance, however, which he rendered was hardly 
worth the name. In the beginning Father Peudeprat 
could help him only in his French settlements, and in 
the following December, when he could speak a little 
English, he was sent to replace Father De Goesbriand 
at Louisville, Ohio, who had been made assistant to 
Father Rappe at Toledo. Father De Goesbriand 
passed through Sandusky City going to his new posi- 
tion, and Father Machebeuf wrote the Catholic Tele- 
graph of Cincinnati an account of their trip to To- 
ledo, relating a little incident which took place on this 
occasion. It was thus : 

I had the pleasm-e of seeing the Rev. Mr. De Goesbriand on 
his way to Toledo, and as the ice was good on the bay and 
along the lake shore, we went to "give church" at the Cana- 
dian settlement on the Toussaint river, and then proceeded to 
Toledo, all the way on the ice. But I must say in passing that 
we enjoyed somewhat of the comfort our friends, the Bap- 
tists, must feel Avhen, in the heart of winter, they are "dipped," 
for owing to a little forgetfulness of the track by our guide, we 


broke in, about fifteen miles from Toledo. Fortunately, the wa- 
ter at that spot was not more than five feet deep, and had it not 
been that the vestments and books of my reverend friend were 
injured by the water, everything would have turned out in fun. 
We made land as soon as we could, and havimj; built a fire on 
the edge of the lake we dried our clothes and continued our 
route to Toledo. Upon an-iving there cmr mutual and good 
friend, Father Rappe, made us forget our little mishap with 
warm refreshments before a wami fiie. 

Bishop Purcell consoled Father ]\[achebeuf for 
the loss of his assistant by telling him that he would 
send Father Lamy to Sandusky as soon as he could 
find a priest to replace him at Danville. This re- 
joiced both Father ]\Iachebeuf and Father Lamy, for 
these two friends would then be together, and this 
for each of them was more happiness than they had 
dared to hope for. In the meantime Father IMache- 
beuf went on alone with his work, cheered up by this 
hope which was sweet as long as it lasted, but it was 
never realized in Ohio. 

In June, 1846, Bishop Purcell visited Sanduskj^ 
and blessed Father ^lachebeuf 's churches, of which 
there were now three, and gave confirmation to 136 
persons in the mission. The Bishop was pleased 
with what he saw, and admired particularly the fine 
stone church at Sandusky, 4()x7() in dimensions, in 
gothic style, with its spire 117 feet high, surmounted 
by a cross, as Father Machebeuf says, "made by an 
English Anabaptist, gilded by an American infidel 
and placed upon a Catholic church to be seen shining 
by mariners far out upon the lake." 

This church had also the luxury of a bell, and 
in connection with this Father Machebeuf used to re- 


late the following incident: "Wlien I was telling 
tliem a few weeks before Christmas that I expected to 
find a man of good will who would volunteer to go to 
Toledo for the bell before Christmas, one of them in 
an excess of good will, forgot that he was in church 
and cried out immediately, ' Say, priest, I'll go tomor- 
row, ' and he kept his word. ' ' 

For that Christmas he prepared a great celebra- 
tion. He brought evergreens from across the bay 
and festooned the church. Three hundred candles 
were distributed at the windows, in the gallery and 
around the sanctuary, gilt stars gleamed from the 
arched ceiling, and over the altar was placed a trans- 
parency representing the adoration of the shepherds. 
Protestants and Catholics thronged the church for the 
midnight mass, for which he had the best singers in 
the town, with the addition of an orchestra. Such 
pomp impressed the outsiders and set many of them 
to thinking, and with some of them it resulted in 
their becoming Catholics. Father Machebeuf helped 
them along, and we find him at that time asking his 
friends to pray for the wavering ones, and he specially 
recommends the wife of a Methodist minister who 
seemed to be held back only by human respect and 
worldly considerations. 

The question of an assistant was finally dropped 
as far as Bishop Purcell was concerned, for about 
this time the Bishop asked for a division of the dio- 
cese, and the establishment of a new See at Cleveland 
with Father Rappe as its Bishop. Action on this 
matter was delayed for more than a year, and the 


priests were growing impatient. Father Macbebeuf 
shared the common feeling and showed it by the fol- 
lowing summing up of the situation: 

Althoufjh I rep;ret to separate from him who is a veritable 
father to his jiriests, and to me in jiartienlar, I am cons<)h>il by 
knowing that Father Rappe has been proposed for the new 
Diocese. He was ahirmed at the thouirht of the burden, and 
now he rejoices in tlie delay, but we, with our parishes 60 and 
75 miles in extent, seldom see a bishop, and suffer by the slow- 
ness of Rome, where they do not realize the rapid growth of 
our Catholic population. My own church, supposed when built 
to be large enough for ten yeai"s, will not accommodate two- 
thirds of my people now. Six years ago I had thirty families, 
and now I have two hundred. I have need of an assistant 
now more than ever, and at the request of Father Rappe and 
others I have written for priests to Mr. Hamon. the Superior 
of Mont-feiTand, and to Rodez, St. Flour and Tulle. 

Wlien Father Machebeuf was in France as a 
young priest he looked upon the condition of the 
Cliurch as one who knows of nothing different, and 
he lamented, like other good priests, tlie lack of faith 
among the people. It seemed to him that religion 
was dying, especially among the men, and without 
them there were sad times in store for the Clmrch. 
His few years in America, among a scatterwl i>eoplo 
hungering for the facilities of practicing their re- 
ligion, had 0]>ened his eyes in a wonderful manner, 
and when he went back to France he noticed, as he 
never did before, the local situation, and the little ap- 
preciation that so many had for all religion. Priests 
were i)lenty, but they were powerless under a govern- 
ment which paralyzed their efforts and killed their 
zeal. In such circumstances they appeared to him to 
be too numerous and in one another's way, one-half 
of them waiting for the shoes of the other half. He 


was astonished and consoled at what was certainly a 
grand and unusual spectacle — the sight presented by 
3,000 men receiving Holy Communion in a body at 
Notre Dame in Paris — yet the general impression 
rested with him that the life of faith was passing 
from France and Europe over into the New World, 
and he lamented that the priests of Europe could not 
see its sure and steady course and put themselves in 
the front of this religious movement. 

In his appeals to his fellow-countrymen he em- 
bodies this idea, and he tries to make it clear to them 
by showing what is being done in America. He cites 
his own little parish as an example of what the scat- 
tered missionaries are doing everywhere, and he tells 
of the greater works which might be done if there 
were more men and means to undertake them. He 

Help me to thank God that I have more work than I can 
do. While the Catholic faith is gTadually disappearing in so 
many parts of Europe, and especially in France, because the 
people have rendered themselves unworthy of it, our Holy Relig- 
ion is being established in a solid manner in all the States of 
the Union. New dioceses are being formed at every Council, 
magnificent cathedrals are being raised to the honor of the One 
Church of Jesus Christ, and hospitals for the sick and asj'^lums 
for the orphans are being built by the charity of poor but gen- 
erous Catholics. 

Here we enjoy in church matters the liberty which the 
priests in France have been so long sighing for. We are not 
tied up with chains of gold and silver like the clergy of Europe 
— that is, we are not subsidized by the State, which does not 
bother itself in any Avay with any particular form of religion, 
but leaves every religion free and gives equal protection to all. 
We Catholics profit by this condition to establish ourselves sol- 
idly, and in this we have succeeded to an extent that would 
surprise those who are accustomed to none but European ways. 


Vou may hesitate to accept my estimate of the advantages 
of America and attribute my words to enthusiasm, but I am 
going to give you some proofs of them. 

A few years ago I came to Sandusky as poor as Job, having 
neither church nor presbytery, nor ground to put them on, nor 
money to buy it with. Today we have a beautiful church of 
stone, a pi-esbytery of twelve rooms, a cemetery of two acres, 
and a school for boys beside the church — all to the value of 
$7,000 and not a cent of debt on any of it. And I cannot rest 
there. Other works call for attention, and I have bought a large 
two-story house with spacious grounds and all outside con- 
veniences, such as barns, out-houses, trees and fences. In this 
we intend to install an orphan asylum and a free school under 
the Sisters of Charity. Still another is a three-story stone 
building which the owner was unable to finish, and which thus 
providentially fell to us at a low price. This is intended as a 
boarding and day school for young ladies, both Catholic and 
Protestant. Many of these latter become Catholics before their 
education is finished. 

The first of these houses cost $1,900, and ilie second cost 
$2,250. I have paid a part on each by a loan, and the rest I am 
to pay in five annual installments. Where shall I get the money 
for these payments'/ Well, Providence will provide as it has 
always done, and before two years the academy will be filled and 
prospering so well that it will need to be enlarged. The Sisters 
of Notre Dame at Cincinnati have succeeded so well that they 
have paid nearly all their debt and are going to build again, 
and the Ursulines at Fayetteville paid their expenses from the 
first year, and saved a thousand dollai^s to i)ay on their debt. 

Things go by steam in America, but it must be so or many 
of the emigrants from Ireland and Germany would he exposed 
to the danger of losing their faith. 

Oh! if a good number of the young priests of the Diocese 
of Clermont and el.sewhere who are in one anollier's way, and 
are forced to remain sinecures for years, could but see the sure 
and certain good that they could do in America, we would not 
have the sorrow of finding every day Protestants and infidels 
who are the ott'spring of Catholic parents, but who were not 
brought up in the faith because there were no priests to in- 
struct them. 

All of these plans of Father Machebeuf were not 
carried out immediately on account of the difficulty of 


binding Sisters to take charge of the different estab- 
lishments, and some of them were not realized in San- 
dusky until after he had gone. 

From what he says we can judge that his work 
was heavy and that he had great need of an assistant. 
The first one who came to him was an old man, and 
Father Machebeuf felt some delicacy in dictating to a 
man much older than himself. Then it was a young 
man just ordained, and Father Machebeuf speaks 
highly of him and mentions that he could speak Ger- 
man as well as English. It was then that he fitted up 
the basement of his grand stone building, "situated 
in the finest quarter of the town, ' ' for a chapel, and 
said mass in it every Sunday for the convenience of 
those living in that part of his growing parish. 

When his payments came due on his new pur- 
chases he found himself unable to meet them, and his 
parish was not in a condition to help him to meet his 
obligations. In these straits he was obliged to sell 
his patrimony in France and use the proceeds to tide 
him over the difficulty. He also solicited donations 
from his relatives and other well disposed friends, 
and he was continually asking for vestments for his 
churches and chapels, and other things necessary for 
church services. 

After the consecration of Bishop Rappe, Father 
Machebeuf expected to receive special relief through 
him, for he was near at hand and knew the condition 
of things from close and continual observation, and, 
in fact, some of the enterprises of Father Machebeuf 
had been undertaken through his advice and persua- 


sion. Bishop Rappe had friends in France, and Ink- 
ing a bishop was enough to give him influence among 
others. But Bishop Rappe did not think it wise to go 
to France while that oountr}'^ was in such a disturbed 
condition, and so Father Machebeuf was obliged to 
face his difficulties as best he could and wait for bet- 
tei" times. 

Father Machebeuf was French, and his love for 
America did not drive away from him his love for 
France. Hence, when revolution broke out in France 
in 1848, he could not conceal his uneasiness, and he 
prayed for the return of peace and tranquility. "I 
am grieved," he wrote, ''at the sad news of this 
frightful revolution which has broken out. I hope, 
however, that the Parisians will be as expeditious in 
these governmental changes as they were in 1830, an<l 
that peace will soon be restored. I fear that the gen- 
eral uncertainty will be bad for all kinds of business. 
If the French only knew how to be moderate. Pei- 
iiaps Lamartine will be able to maintain order and 
peace, but it will not be an easy task." Lamartine 
was the minister of foreign affairs in the new pro- 
visional government. 

With his practical views P^'ather Machebeuf saw 
the possibility of deriving some benefit from the mis- 
fortunes of France. It occurred to him that some of 
the priests might be driven from France, and Amer 
ica could profit by offering them an asylum. He told 
his sister of his thoughts, and added : " If the evils of 
the times force you to quit Riom, or perhaps France, 
you know that we have a house ready to receive you 


and all those capable of learning English and teach- 
ing in our schools. ' ' 

This would solve, to a certain extent, the finan- 
cial problems with which he was wrestling, and help 
him out of his most pressing difficulties. It was, how- 
ever, only one of the remote eventualities, and it is 
not probable that he ever counted much upon it, and 
any expectations which he may have had from that 
direction were soon dissipated, for the revolution did 
not turn directly against religion, and the blood of 
Monsigneur Affre, the Archbishop of Paris, served 
to frighten the Communists back to a show of reason 
and stay the hand of anarchy. The French Sisters 
were not disturbed, and the French priests stayed at 
home, and Father Machebeuf was left alone to strug- 
gle with his debts and work. 

Here, in the midst of his trials, a new embarrass- 
ment came upon him. The famine in Ireland was 
felt in far off Sandusky in an indirect way, and 
Father Machebeuf was one of the principal sufferers 
from it. In the beginning of 1849 he wrote to his 
sister telling her of the fresh difficulties in his affairs, 
and the change in some of his plans to meet the most 
pressing necessities : 

The uews I send you is always about the same, for it is 
that my work grows heavier every day. Now it is caused by the 
immigration of the poor Irish who are driven from their country 
by famine and the tyranny of the English government. The 
number of our poor and siek has so increased that I shall com- 
mence by a school for the poor and an asylum for the orphans 
if I can get the Sisters of Charity, or of Mercy, to whom I have 
written. But the need of them in the large cities is so great, 
and so many are asking for them, that I have not yet received 
any definite answer. I am thus left alone to pay for my (wo 


houses, bought last year in the almost certain hope of having 
the Sisters to take charge of them. Yon can, then, form an 
idea of my pecuniaiy embarrassments, and I wish you would 
urge my agents to send me what money they can to pay a part 
of my loans. 

To cap my misfortunes, such misery exists in Ireland that 
my Irish people send to their relatives and friends every cent 
they can spare, and that leaves me with nothing for our institu- 
tions. The moment we succeed in opening one of them I shall 
breathe easier, but in the meantime the burden is so heavy that 
I fear lest I may sink under it. 

If the great number of young priests had the courage to 
make the voyage to America, and see with their own eyes the 
need that the churches here have of their help, they would feel 
a thousand times more consolation and happiness in giving their 
lives and fortunes for the propagation of the faith in the New 
World than in all their reunions and assemblies. 

But take courage on the subject of my difficulties. The 
more there are of difficulties, the greater should be our reliance 
on Providence. It is the work of God, and He must make the 
way smooth. Ask the prayers of the community for me. 

Jn moments like these Father Machebeuf needed 
all his courage, and the words of the Holy Father, no 
doubt, were recalled whenever the load pressed hard 
u{X)n him — "Courage, American!" 

It was about this time, and |>erhaps at a moment 
when he felt that eveiy step cost so nmch and his best 
plans brought but disappointment, that he received a 
visit from Father De 8met, whose name has since be- 
come famed the world over as indicating the greatest 
missionar}' among the Indians of the Far West. 

Father I)e Smct had heard of Father Machebeuf, 
and the disinterested zeal and labor which distin- 
guished l)im above all the other jiriests in Ohio, and 
he saw in him a man after his own heart — one who 
would fit admirably into the new field just opening 
among (lod's nntutore<I children of the Western 


plains and mountains. He spoke to Father Mache- 
beuf of the Oregon missions, and of the harvest of 
souls there waiting, not so much for worldly means 
to build expensive churches and carry out costly 
plans, as for apostles to teach them the Word of Life. 

Father Machebeuf was impressed by the repre- 
sentations of Father De Smet, and attracted by this 
kind of work which promised immediate results from 
labor, without so many hampering and nullifying ob- 
stacles. His mind was strongly turned towards this 
new idea, which appealed to him as the ultimate ful- 
filment of his missionary vocation. 

Before he had taken any decisive step, however, 
in the matter, a rumor of his intention reached Father 
Lamy, who lost no time in visiting him for the pur- 
pose of dissuading him from such a move. Their 
conference was long and earnest, and ended: only 
when Father Lamy said : ' ' My dear friend, when we 
came to America we made an agreement that we 
would keep together as much as xjossible. Now, if 
you go, I shall follow you!" This was more than 
Father Machebeuf had counted upon. He might do 
as he pleased with himself, but he could not force this 
alternative upon his best friend, so he gave up the 

It was but a postponement of the call to the 
Rocky Mountains, and when the call did come later, it 
was a day of sadness for Father Machebeuf, and 
a day of sacrifices which he found very hard to make. 

As the year 1849 advanced, the affairs of Father 
Machebeuf assumed better shape. Bishop Rappe 


was prei)ariiig: for his trip to Europe, and it was his 
intention to bring back priests and Sisters for his 
diocese, and, no doubt, many of the charitably dis- 
posed among those whom he would meet would assist 
liim from their abundance. Thus the greater per- 
sonal and material needs of the diocese would be re- 
lieved, and in the distribution the important and 
growing parish of Sandusky would not be forgotten. 
Father Machebeuf had several conferences with 
Bishop Rai)pe, and together they had planned to 
make tlie proposed trip a success. In some way or 
other, also. Father Machebeuf had met his most 
l)ressing obligations and arranged temporarily the 
greatest of the difficulties which had worried him. 
His own personal affairs were brighter, and he was 
beautifying his home and adding many little comforts 
to it. Among these was a vineyard, which he planted 
with cuttings from American, German and French 
vines. His vines were so fruitful that others followed 
his experiment, and thus we see Father Machebeuf as 
one of the pioneers of grape culture in northeni Ohio, 
where that industry has since grown to such great 

On May 10, 1849, he wrote a letter to his brother 
in a most cheerful vein. He thanked him for various 
donations received, and told him of brighter pros- 
pects ahead. The completion of the railroad from 
Sandtisky to Cincinnati had given a fresh impetus to 
business and the town was prosperous and growing. 
He was pleased to mention that he had a free pass on 
the railroad and was making good use of it. Relig- 


ion was flourishing, and at that moment the Bishops 
were gathered in a National Council at Baltimore to 
confer for the good of the Church in America. 

Father Machebeuf had no thought of the change 
being unconsciously prepared for himself in that 
gathering of bishops. On May 11, the day after the 
date of his letter, the Bishops formulated their peti- 
tion to the Propaganda for the erection of the Vicar- 
iate Apostolic of New Mexico, and recommended his 
friend, Father Lamy, as its first Vicar Apostolic. 

This was pleasing news to Father Machebeuf, 
and he would rejoice to see his best friend honored. 
It would mean their definite separation, but under the 
circumstances a separation would be welcome and he 
would speed the parting friend without any real re- 
gret. His own work was sufficient to occupy his 
mind and body, and, with all his energies bent upon 
the accomplishment of his cherished plans, he would 
have no time for lamentations. 

The expected came to pass here, and Father 
Lamy was named Bishop of Agathon and Vicar 
Apostolic of New Mexico. The official news of the 
appointment came to Father Machebeuf in a letter 
from Father Lamy himself, and with it came a propo- 
sition which upset his mind and threw him into a 
state of uncertainty, hesitation and fear. But we 
shall let Father Machebeuf 's pen tell the story of 
this year and close this chapter, and with it the chap- 
ter of his life as a missionary in Ohio : 

On Board the Peytona, Jan. 20, 1851. 
My Dear Brother and Sister: 

You have been waitinof a long time for news from me, 

/f- l^-(AyQAyJ 4\ ^i 


and 1 I'an almost bear you scoldiiiiT mo from this distance, yet 
my justification from the accusation of negligence will be clear 
to you before you finish reading this letter. 

But first, I hear you ask: "What is the Peytona? and where 
is he going?" The Peytona is one of the largest and most 
beautiful steamboats on the river between Cincinnati and New 
Orleans. It carries a truly surprising assortment of persons 
and things. Catholics and Protestants, believers and infidels, 
priests and laics, freemen and slaves, Germans, French, English, 
Irish, Poles, Americans, Africans, etc., in fact it is a miniature 
world. There are 200 ]>assengers in the first cabin and 50 in the 
second, besides over 100 blacks, and two-thirds of these are slaves 
whom their masters aie taking, some to New Orleans and some 
to Liberia in Africa. 

In addition to this mixed assemblage of human beings, we 
have on board 160 iiorses and mules, 100 fat beeves, 400 sheep 
and 75 gamecocks, bought at Louisville, Ky., for $5 apiece, for 
the amusement of the lovers of cock fighting at New Orleans. 
Then we have 400 bales of cotton, 200 or 300 tons of flour, and 
various other kinds of produce. 

I cannot pass over in silence a revolting scene which took 
place at Memjjhis where we stopped for a few hours. We had 
a slave dealer on the boat and he sold two poor young negro 
girls to a merdiant of that town. The buyer examined them, 
had them walk back and forth before him, made them talk, and 
asked them what they could do, and why their master had sold 
them, etc. Finally, after a.ssuring himself that he was getting 
the worth of his money, he bought them for $050 each. It was 
truly pitiful to see these young girls following their new master 
away, clad in little more than absolute rags. However, it is 
said that many of the masters treat their slaves with great kind- 
ness, and in many cases the slaves would not leave the masters 
even if they were given their freedom. 

Now, where am I going? A word will tell you all. 

You have heard that my friend. Father Lamy, has been 
named Vicar Apostolic of New Mexico. Well, I am on my way 
with arms and baggage to join him at New Orleans, where he 
has been awaiting me for the last month. 

As soon as the Bulls arrived from Rome his Lordship wrote 
to me, first to tell me the great news, but principally to propose 
to me that I accompany him in the quality of an intimate friend 
upon whom he could depend, as well as an assistant ujion whom 
he could lay a part of his burden — in fine, he wished me to go 
as his Vicar General. With his usual simplicity and humility 


he said to me: "They wish that I should be a Vicar Apostolic, 
and I wish you to be my Viear General, and from these two 
vicars we shall try to make one good Pastor." 

At first I did not know what kind of an answer to give to 
such a proposition. I felt willing enough to follow him 
wherever he would go and share his crosses as well as his con- 
solations, but I could not make up my mind to accept an office 
for which I did not think I had the necessary talent, nor virtue, 
nor patience. 

I waited ten days before giving any answer to the proposal, 
during which time I went to Cleveland to confer with Bishop 
Rappe and the priests of the Cathedral. The Bishop was not 
willing to give me any positive advice, sajdng that he feared he 
might be opposing the will of God if he hindered my departure, 
but that he could not without great pain see me leave Sandusky 
where I had been for the last ten years, and where I had con- 
tracted so many obligations on account of my plans and pro- 
jects. The other clergymen whom I consulted told me that they 
had expected Bishop Lamy to ask me to go with him, and they 
thought it clear that Providence designed that I should go. 
They said that if I went with him, I ought to accept his propo- 
sition in its entire extent, and if I did not do this I ought to stay 
at Sandusky. 

I then went to Cincinnati in order to see Bishop Lamy 
himself and settle the matter once for all with him. As soon 
as he saw me he grasped my hand and summoned me to keep 
my part of the agreement which we made never to separate, 
and he spoke of the time when he was willing to go with me to 
the West. 

Ever since the time when I saw the celebrated Father De 
Smet, that premier missionary of Oregon, I never got the 
thought of the Western missions quite out of my head. I could 
not forget his many efforts and entreaties to induce me to follow 
him to the Rocky Mountains. But for that the designs of Prov- 
idence were not perfectly clear, and I dropped it and tried to 
forget it. I had brought myself to think that my special prov- 
ince was now to care for my parish, and carry out our great 
project of a Catholic school. It may seem singular, but in 
spite of the news which we all expected from Rome in regard 
to Bishop Lamy, the thought never presented itself to me that I 
would wish to follow him, or even that he would ever dream of 
asking me. It was only after two letters from him that I began 
to think senously of it as a practical question. Now, after two 
months of tighting, first with doubt and uncertainty, and then 


with all sorts of difficulties, I have left my dear Sandusky. I 
can hardly think of it without tears, not of reo:ret, for I believe 
it was for the theater gloi-y of God, but the separation was too 
painful that I should so soon for^-et it. or be able to think of it 
without emotion. 

From the moment when I was obliijed to tell my conorre^a- 
tion of my goinsr, I was continually surrounded by my poor peo- 
ple, who begged me not to leave them. When the day came 
that was set for the sale of my furniture, nobody would buy 
anvthing, but they prepared two petitions -one for Bishop 
Rappe and the other for Bishop Lamy-and a deputation of 
four of the principal men of the parish was selected to repre- 
sent the wishes of the people to the two Bishops. But God per- 
mitted that their efforts should come to nothing. The two men 
who went to Cincinnati to wait upon Bishop Lamy could not 
see him, as he was making his retreat at Fayetteville, and the 
two who went to Cleveland were not more successful with 

Bishop Rappe. 

The day of the consecration Bishop Rappe did everything 
that he couid to induce Bishop Lamy to go to Europe and gel 
priests who could speak Spanish, but it was of no use. All the 
other Bishops and priests advised me to go with Bishop Lamj . 
so I yielded to the pressure of circumstances, or rather to what 
I believe is the will of God, and now am far from Sandusky, 
nearly half way to Santa Fe, the future episcopal residence. 

I am not able to give you any reliable details of our new 
mission. Communication is very difficult, and it was so little 
known before its conquest by the United States that the geo- 
graphers said hardly a word about it. We know that there are 
about 40,000 Catholics, mostly Mexicans or Spaniards, and 
some other Europeans in the larger towns, like Santa I'e, etc. 
To reach there we must join a caravan at San Antonio, lexas. 
and travel by land with our own conveyances. We hope to 
make the trip during the course of the next month with a de- 
tachment of soldiers who are going to Santa Fe. I have be- 
sxm the study of Spanish, and I find that it resembles French 
and Latin a'great deal, and has a certain affinity with the 

patois of Auvergne. „ . ^ ^oti^^^ 

While I am writing we are passing magnihcont plantations 
of cotton and sugar. Each resembles a little village. First, 
there is the house of the master, generally of brick, two stories 
hi-h, and very large. Then, at one side are the little^ cabins ot 
the slaves, from 2r, to 40 feet apart, and each negro family has 
its little house and garden. The slaves are always working 


for their masters without receiving anything but their food 
and clothing, and these are coarse enough in both instances. 
Yesterday while the boat was stopped to take on wood we vis- 
ited one of these plantations. In one of the cabins we found 
a very old negro, whose color contrasted strangely with his 
long beard, white as wool. He asked for a little alms, which 
we gladly gave him. We are beginning now to see signs of 
verdure, and expect soon to see oranges growing in the open 

Jan. 25. — We landed here at New Orleans on the 21st, after 
a long but pleasant trip of nine days, but I was not prepared 
for the unpleasant news which awaited me. Bishop Lamy left 
here two weeks ago for San Antonio, where he will wait for me. 
The commander of the troops with whom we are to travel offered 
him a free pass on a government boat, but he arrived here one 
day too late. Thinkmg to overtake them at Galveston, where 
they were to stop for a few days, he took a boat for that place 
the next day. The boat was so old and Avorn out that it was 
unable to withstand the storms, and it was wrecked near Gal- 
veston. It was broken into a thousand pieces and went to the 
bottom of the sea. Fortunately, the passengers saved their 
lives, but nearly all their baggage was lost. Bishop Lamy suc- 
ceeded in saving his vestments and one box of books. The 
greatest loss for him was a fine new wagon which he bought at 
New Orleans for the trip over the plains. Altogether his loss 
was about $350. 

One sad feature of his going was that his sister, who was 
sick with the Sisters in New Orleans when he went, died the 
day after his departure. He left a letter for me, urging me to 
join him as soon as possible, and I leave here on Saturday — a 
day consecrated to the Blessed "Virgin. I hope that this good 
Mother will preserve me from all danger. 

Onward, then, into the keeping of Providence ! 


Goes to San Antonio.- Visits the Frontier Posts. -Inci- 
dents on the Way to El Paso.-Government flavors. -Up the 
Rio Grande.— Local Receptions on the Way.-Plenty of Paith 
but Few Works.— Apathy of the Clergy.— Triumphal Entry 
Into Santa Fe. 

Father Machebeuf spent no more time in New 
Orleans than was necessary to transact a few commis- 
sions for Bishop Lamy and make arrangements for 
the continuation of his own journey. Following the 
route taken by his superior, he hurried forward, 
reached the coast of Texas by water without accident 
and pushed on to San Antonio. There he found 
Bishop Lamy in apostolic poverty, with only the stiilT 
and girdle of the pilgrim, but full of courage and 
thankful that his life had been spared, and that he 
was none the worse physically for his thrilling exptv 
rience in the waters of the Gulf. He found hmi, 
however, suffering from an accident received just as 
he was approaching San Antonio. With his single 
trunk saved from the wreck. Bishop Lamy was en 
deavoring to overtiike the soldiers, and, when nearing 
San Antonio, his mule took fright and ran away. To 
escape greater danger the Bishop jumped from his 
cart, but in alighting his foot turned under him and 
he suffered such a severe sprain of his ankle that he 
was unable to put his foot to Uie ground for six 


u\)on arriving at San Antonio, Father Mache- 
beuf found that a considerable time must elapse be^ 


fore the departure of the governnient train for Santa 
Fe. He could not bear to remain idle, but his ignor- 
ance of the Spanish language prevented him from 
engaging in regular ministerial work at San Antonio 
or the hamlets in that part of Texas. Most of the 
resident Catholics were Mexicans, settled in scattered 
groups along the streams to the southward as far as 
the Rio Grande. With the Bishop, he put in most of 
his spare time studying Spanish, and acquiring a 
practical use of it by conversing with the Mexicans 
with whom he became acquainted. 

Texas, at this time, had been annexed to the 
United States only a few years, but immigrants were 
coming in from the other states in considerable num- 
bers, and the United States government had estab- 
lished a number of forts along the frontiers as a pro- 
tection against the Indians, and for the general se- 
curity of the country along the borders of Mexico. 
Among the troops manning the forts there were 
many Catholics, and Father Machebeuf, with the per- 
mission of Bishop Odin, of Galveston, visited a num- 
ber of these forts, going as far as Eagle Pass on the 
Rio Grande. Thus he traveled several hundred 
miles in Missionary work during the month of April 
and the early part of May. 

It was the middle of May before the caravan got 
away on its long journey over the plains, but it was 
soon enough for Bishop Lamy. The loss of his 
wagon and other belongings in the shipwreck left 
him with crippled resources and greater expenses of 
preparation. By combining their individual funds, 


and adding to them what they had l>een able to col- 
lect on their various little mission trips, they man- 
aged to secure a large wagon for their necessarj- 
baggage and provisions, anotlier smaller conveyance 
for greater convenience in riding, and a couple of 
saddle ponies. Another wagon would have com- 
pleted their equipment if they could have gotten it, 
for besides Father Machebeuf, Bishop Lamy liad two 
priests— probably Fathers Pinard and Groskowski, 
commonly known as Father Polacco— and each had 
his modicum of baggage. As it was. Father Mache- 
beuf was forced to leave behind him a great part of 
his heaviest baggage, with instructions to have it 
brought to him at Santa Fe by another caravan of 
merchandise which was to start some time later. 

The train with wliich they traveled was made up 
of nearly 2U0 government wagons, each drawn by six 
mules, about 25 wagons belonging to merchants and 
other civilians, and a company of U. S. cavalry. With 
this immense cavalcade travel was necessarily slow, 
and when we consider that the distance from San 
Antonio to Santa Fe was over 1,000 miles, we win 
imagine what an undertaking such a journey was. 
The first part of it, from San Antonio to El Paso, 
was over 600 miles, and it was by far the worst half 
of the .iourney, for it was mostly through barren 
wastes where wood and water were scarce, and where 
the Comanche Indians roamed in their wild freedom. 
The Indians were not liable to attack such a caravan, 
but, owing to bad water, many suffered from the 
cholera which attacked them in a mild form and no 
deaths resulted from this cause. 


Six weeks were required for this part of the 
journey, but its hardships were partially offset for 
the Bishop and his party by some special advantages 
not generally found in those long journeys of the 
Western pioneers. Father Machebeuf gives a good 
account of this trip as far as El Paso in the following 
letter : 

It is well understood that each one must provide himself 
with all kinds of provisions for six weeks or two months in ad- 
vance, for we have 675 miles to make without meeting any 
human habitation. With the exception of a few fertile valleys 
along the rivers, nearly the whole country from 100 miles west 
of San Antonio was nothing but a desert or a succession of 
high hills. The journey was a trial upon patience and human 
endurance, but we had some advantages over the other travelers. 
General Stephen W. Kearney, whose wife is a good Catholic, 
gave us the privilege of drawing rations each week from the 
government supplies, such as were issued to the officers, and 
of paying for them at government prices. This was about half 
the price we would have paid if we had bought our provisions 
at San Antonio and carried them with us. By this an-ange- 
ment we were never in need of anything, except water, which, 
at times, was very scarce. In fact, we had often to carry water 
along with us in barrels both for ourselves and our animals. 

We had fresh meat three times a week, and milk was 
brought to us daily by the Mexicans who had charge of the 
herd of cattle. P^rora time to time our driver, who was a 
(Canadian Catholic, treated us to game, such as antelope, rabbits, 
ducks, grouse, etc. But the greatest treat was the abundance 
of fish. On many occasions we actually had the x)leasure of 
catching them with our hands. 

As we stopped only to camp for the night, or to let the 
mules graze where we found good grass, we had no opportunity 
to bake, so we had to content ourselves with sea-biscuit, such as 
the soldiers use, but after a few days we became accustomed 
to these and found them very palatable. We had a good tent, 
loaned us by the General, but the nights were so calm and 
beautiful that we almost always slept in the open air. And, 
oh, how well one does sleep under a blanket with his saddle for 
a pillow after a day's lide on horseback! — and especially, what 


an appetite one lias ! Altogether, we had a very fair trip in 
spite of a few privations and an occasional storm which scarcely 
deserved the name. 

Finally, after six weeks' traveling across plains and over 
nionntains infested by Indians, we reached El Paso, the only 
Mexican town we saw, and that was not worthy of any special 
notice. We stopped there a few days to rest, and the Bishop 
and myself were very cordially received by the j)astor. Father 
Ortiz, who proffered ns every hospitality in his ])ower. 

The usual route from the States to Santa Fe was 
not by the way of San Aiitonio and K\ Paso, but from 
Independence, Mo., over tlie old Santa Fe Trail. 
Boats from St. Louis ascended the Missouri river 
and landed at Independence, making this the great 
shipping point for our newly acquired territory in 
the West. The offer, however, of military protection 
througli a country inliabited only by savages was an 
inducement for Bishop Lamy to take the longer 
route on this, his first trip to his new and distant field 
of labor. He wished also to visit New Orleans where 
he had relatives, and then he had a prospect of get- 
ting a few priests to accompany him to New Mexico 
from these Southern missions. P"'or a considerable 
portion of the journey also he would be traveling in 
his own territory, and thus would be able to form 
some opinion of the nature of his work upon liis ar- 
rival at Santa Fe. 

From El Paso, on the borders of Mexico, to 
Santa Fe, the distance was nearly 400 miles. Part 
of this, from Dona Ana to San Marcial, alwut 80 
miles, was through La .Jornada del Mucrto, or the 
.Journey of the Dead. This was a " formidable desert, 
where along the road the bleaching bones of mules 


and horses testify to the danger to be apprehended 
from the want of water and pasture, and many hu- 
man bones likewise tell their tale of Indian slaughter 
and assault. ' ' 

The balance of the way was along the fertile 
valley of the Eio Grande. This valley was fairly 
well peopled with Mexicans engaged in agricultural 
or pastoral pursuits. This made it possible for our 
travelers to get fresh vegetables and many other 
necessaries along the way, and thus, with lightened 
loads and abundant pasture and water, they were 
able to travel with less inconvenience in New Mexico 
than through Texas. 

The news of the coming of Bishop Lamy pre- 
ceded him on his journey to New Mexico, and, strange 
to relate, it was not received with unmixed joy. The 
simple people hailed him with delight, but many of 
the influential class held aloof, and among the clergy 
there was a marked lack of enthusiasm. Some felt 
that his coming meant reform for them or the dis- 
cipline, and neither of these was a pleasant pros- 
pect. There was also a strong prejudice against for- 
eigners, as all not of Spanish blood were termed, and 
special hatred against those who came from the 
States, The clergy shared this with the people, and 
some of them encouraged the bitter feeling among 
the people. So strong was this prejudice among the 
clergy that more than half of the priests of New 
Mexico removed to Old Mexico rather than live un- 
der American civil rule or religious discipline. 

The Church in New Mexico had long been under 


the jurisdiction of the Bishops of Durango in Old 
Mexico, and the distance of 1,500 miles made it ex- 
tremely difficult for them to visit this part of their 
diocese. Bishop Zubiria had visited Santa Fe twice 
before the American occupation and once afterwards, 
but each visit was with great trouble and expense, as 
he was obliged to have an escort for protection 
against the savage Indians who made frequent for- 
ays into the more settled parts of New Mexico. 

At this time the head of the Church in New Mex- 
ico was a Vicar Forane, the Very Kev. .1. F. Ortiz, 
who resided at Santa Fe and was a medium between 
the priests and the Bishop, but he appears to have 
exercised veiy little practical authority. Discipline 
had greatly relaxed among the clergy, the apostolic 
spirit was gone, and the essential practices of relig- 
ion had fallen to a very low ebb among botli priests 
and peo])le. The sense of faith was still strong 
among the people, but it was more from tra litions 
of their early missionaries than from the teaching of 
their present pastors. They knew of no other condi- 
tions of religion than those they saw around them, 
and they could make no comparison of the present 
with other times and other places. Hence, they failed 
to realize the abuses whicli had crept in, and did not 
see the obligations of the (Tliristian faith as we under- 
stand them. Many of them were Indians, and a major- 
ity of them were only a step removed from the Indian, 
and all of them had the Indian love of display which 
makes outward show a strong factor in the comi)uta- 
tiou of moral worth. They were also at the disad- 


vantage of living in virtual slavery to the landhold- 
ers and quasi-lords of the country, who were not 
much better instructed, and who were far more occu- 
pied with temporal things than with their own or 
their subjects' spiritual welfare. 

The following description given by Father 
Machebeuf of their reception along the way will ex- 
plain the conditions which Bishop Lamy had to meet 
upon going to New Mexico in 1851 : 

After having renewed our stock of provisions for the jour- 
ney we resumed our route towards Santa Fe, which is 380 miles 
from El Paso. With the exception of 80 miles through a coun- 
try uncultivated and frequented by savages, this part of the 
journey was as pleasant as the first part had been disagreeable. 
Almost every few miles we came across some little parish or 
mission, and everywhere the people showed the greatest respect 
for the Bishop. Whole villages turned out to receive him in 
procession. At the entrance to the villages they erected tri- 
umphal arches, under which the Bishop and his party must pass. 
The party consisted of myself and two others, a Polish and a 
Spanish priest, who had come with us from Texas. In front of 
the churches the women spread their shawls and cloaks on the 
ground for us to walk upon, and men, women and children came 
in crowds to receive the episcopal blessing and to kiss the 
Bishop's ring. 

This is a country of ancient Catholicity, but, alas, how 
times have changed! Instead of that piety and practical re- 
ligion which marked the days of the Missions, we have now but 
the forms and the exterior of religion. The people are all very 
exact in their attendance at the church services, they observe 
all the feasts and keep up their confraternities and societies, but 
the reception of the sacraments is sadly neglected where it is 
not entirely abandoned. In a population of 70,000, including 
the converted Indians, there are but fifteen priests, and six of 
these are worn out by age and have no energy. The others 
have not a spark of zeal, and their lives are scandalous beyond 
description. It is plainly evident that Bishop Lamy will need 
to exercise the greatest prudence, as well as zeal and devoted- 
ness, in the government of such a diocese. 

The people in general show the best dispositions. They 


have the docility of children towards the priest, and if the few 
remaining Mexican priests who have still the force of youth in 
iheni were animated with any good intentions, it would be the 
easiest thing in the world to bring these people back to the 
practice of their religion. But, alas! the great obstacle to the 
good which the Bishop is disposed to do among them, does not 
come from the people but from the priests themselves, who do 
not want the Bishop, for they dread a reform in their morals, 
or a change in their selfish relations with their parishioners. 
One of the great neglects of the priests of New Mexico is thai 
they seldom or never preach. But how could such priests 
preach f 

Tlieir appioacli to SaiiUi F('' was lieralded a long 
distance in advance, and preparations for receiving 
the Bishop were begun on a scale which made it an 
event in the history, not only of the Church in New 
Mexico, but of the Territory itself. The civil au- 
thorities, the military autliorities, the ee<?lesiastical 
authorities, the people and even the various tribes 
of Indians determined to take part in welcomins: the 
Bisho)), and made their preparations accx^rdingly. Of 
this, and the numerous other demonstrations along 
the way, the Bishop and his party had no knowledge, 
only as a rumor might meet them of what they could 
ex])ect, but they were totally uni>rei)art\l for the 
magnificent ovation with which they were greeted 
ui>on their arrival at Santa Fe. A record of the 
principal events of this reception was made by Fath- 
er Machebeuf a few days fifter it occurred, and we 
give his account : 

We arrived at Santa Fe on the 8th of August, and the entr>- 
of Bishop Laniv into the Capital was truly a triumphal one. The 
Governor of the Territory with all the civil and military author- 
ities, and thousands of people, met him six miles out from the 
city with the finest carriages and coaches of the city, and vehi- 


cles of all sorts for thirty miles around. Some eight or nine 
thousand Catholic Indians came also, dressed in the fashions of 
their numerous tribes, and their gaudy and grotesque, yet pic- 
turesque, costumes were a sight to behold. 

The meeting of the Bishop and the advancing cavalcade was 
most impressive, and the welcome he received was warm and 
earnest. The spectacular features of it were increased by the 
Indians on horseback and on foot as they went through eveiy 
motion and evolution of war and victory. 

As the monster i^roeession neared the city the commander 
of the fort ordered a solute of artillery in the Bishop's honor, 
and the glad shouts of the people met him at every turn, while 
in the background, filled with rage and envy, were the four 
Protestant ministers who had been losing their time for the 
past two or three years among the Mexicans of Santa Fe, 

After the Te Deum, which was chanted to the accompani- 
ment of Mexican music, the Vicar of the Bishop of Durango re- 
ceived Bishop Lamy into his own house, which he had profusely 
decorated and converted into a real episcopal palace, and all 
the authorities were invited there to a grand dinner which 
made us forget our long trip across the arid plains of Texas. 
Here, also, lodgings were prepared for us, and here probably 
we shall make our home, for it is the intention of the Bishop to 
buy the house, as it stands close to the principal church. 

This is a recital of the bare facts and does not 
touch on the sentiments which lay behind, nor on 
those which must have been aroused by this universal 
demonstration of joy and good will. There is no 
doubt that the civil and military authorities looked 
upon the coming of Bishop Lamy as a blessing. It 
detached the Church in New Mexico from its Mexican 
affiliations, and made it dependent upon conditions 
in the United States. This would have the effect of 
strengthening the relations of the people with the 
new government, while it removed the danger of any 
Mexican influence that might be hostile to the new 
order of things. There were no serious indications 
that the few remaining natives of the Mexican clergy 


would have op]K)sed American rule, but the United 
States goveniment must have been favorable to a 
policy which in our days it has pursued in the case of 
the Philippine Islands. An ecclesiastical establish- 
ment with superior authority in St. Louis would nat- 
urally be more acceptable than one dependent upon 

The people must have rejoiced for other reasons. 
Situated so far from the episcopal city they could not 
expect to see a Bishop very often. The Sacrament 
of Confirmation had been a rare thing, and now, if 
the people were instructed in its utility, they must 
have rejoiced in the opportunity of receiving it. In 
any case, he was their Bishop, and he was come to 
live among them, and as they loved) honor and dig- 
nity, the presence of a Prince of the Church among 
them was not to be lightly estimated. The senti- 
ments of the clergy are not recorded, only in so fai" 
as the Vicar, who personally was a very estimable 
priest, seemed to enter heartily into the welcome ac- 
corded to the new Bishop. 

The manifestation of all this in the enthusiastic 
welcome given to him must have brought to Bishop 
Lamy the deei>est satisfaction, and tended to recon- 
cile him to his position as a bishop of a semi-civilized 
diocese. It augured well for a rapid development of 
religion, and for a vast amount of good which could 
be done among these simple children of nature. The 
only discordant note in the universal hannony was 
the thought that the clergy was not the zealous body 
that it should be in so high a calling. If he could 


find some means of re-animating it with the sense of 
duty and the spirit of sacrifice, what a bright future 
he could see for religion in New Mexico. If this 
could be done by gentle and kindly means — in a man- 
ner to bind them to him in the same spirit of love and 
labor, there would be a glorious transformation, and 
where sin abounded grace would the more abound. 

This occasion, and his previous experiences and 
observations, would suggest thoughts of this nature, 
and among such thoughts another would thrust itself 
— ^what if the clergy did not respond to his earnest 
desires, and his paternal efforts in their regard 
should result in failure? Today let that thought be 
put aside— time enough to raise the umbrella when 
it begins to rain. 


Kxtetil of the Vicariate. — Mixed Races. — Christian and Pa- 
gan Indians. — Santa Fe. — Some Events in Its History. — The 
Palace. — Tlie Cliurelies. — The Bell. — The P>lui)(ler of a Drunken 
Judge. — How He Was Made to Rectify It. — Bishop Lamy Goes 
to Durango.— b'ather Machebeuf as Administrator. — Missionary 
Work. — Kelisfious Itrnorance and Its Consequences. — Need of 
Christian Schools. — Building Bought. — The Sisters of Loretto. 
Acadamy of Our Lady of Light. 

In 1851 New Mexico was of much greater extent 
than today. Its boundaries were not definitely de- 
termined, but they included all of what is now New 
Mexico and Arizona, except the southern portion, 
which came in later as a part of the Gadsden I'lir- 
chase, a part of the i)r(*s(Mit State of Nevada, and 
most of that portion of Colorado ly'in^^ east (»f tiic 
Continental Divide and south of the Arkansas river. 
Beyond the limits (tf his vicariate proper, Hisho]> 
Lamy had cliar^c of Clah and soine otiier parts of 
the Mexican Cession of 184S. The o;reat bulk of his 
subjects, however, were within the present limits of 
New Mexico, with a few scattering missions in Ari- 
zona. The rest of the vast territory was mostly a 
wilderness and a home for roving tribes of pagan In- 

The people of New Mexico were the descendants 
of former colonists from Old Mexico. Some of these 
were of pure Castilian blood, and some were of mixed 
blood, as many are found to be in Old Mexico. Again, 
a new mixture of blood was added in many c^ses by 


intermarriage with individual members of the vari- 
ous tribes of New Mexican Indians. 

These classes formed the majority of the popula- 
tion, but there was a large element of the pure Indian 
race, which might properly be considered as belong- 
ing to the population of New Mexico. These were 
Indians of sedentary habits, who were living in 
groups, or villages, called pueblos. They tilled a lit- 
tle of the soil, kept a few goats, sheep or other ani- 
mals, and lived generally in a hand-to-mouth fashion. 
In some of the arts they were quite skilled, and made 
blankets and woolen stuffs of wonderful merit, and 
fair samples of pottery. In almost everything they 
had the usual Indian characteristics except the rov- 
ing disposition, and their constant intercourse with 
the Mexicans gave them a touch of the imperfect civ- 
ilization around them. 

These Indians were not all Christians, but many 
of them were, and all of them might have been if New 
Mexico had been left to the Franciscans, or if these 
Fathers had been succeeded by a zealous body of mis- 
sionary priests. The Apache Indians were pagans, 
so were the Navajos and the other predatory tribes 
which made their homes in these regions. 

The faith was first brought to the Indians of 
New Mexico by the Franciscans in the 16th century, 
but the early missionaries were put to death by the 
Indians, and left do permanent work. The first per- 
manent missions established date from the end of the 
I6th century — the oldest being that of San Francisco 
de los Espag holes, or San Gabriel, at the mouth of 


the Rio C'haiiia, ami next came that of La Villa Real 
de Santa Fe de San Francisco, a name now abbrevi- 
ated into Santa F6. These missions became perma- 
nent centers of religion, and also of colonies which 
finally reclaimed New Mexico from savagery. San 
Gabriel was the first residence of the Spanish Pro- 
vincial Governor, but he soon saw the superior ad- 
vantages of Santa Fe and made tiiat the seat of the 

During the succeeding centuries Santa Fe met 
with varying fortunes. It was several times taken 
by the Indians, who rebelled against Spanish rule, 
but was always recovered again by the Spaniards, 
yet in all these vicissitudes it never lost its individ- 
uality, and thus is the oldest city in the United States 
with the single exception of St. Augustine, in Flor- 
ida. Its population was never more than a few 
thousands, but commercially it was of considerable 
importance, and at the time of its acquisition by the 
United States its trade amounted to about one million 
dollars annually. 

Wlien Mexico threw oft" the Spanish yoke, in 
1821, all Spaniards were ordered from the country. 
The decree affected the S]>anisli Franciscans, who at 
that time had charge of twenty Indian pueblos and 
one hundred and two towns and ranclies in New Mex- 
ico. The Bisho]) of Durango found it impossible to 
fill tlieir places, hut he did the best he could to supply 
the more imi)ortant missions. In 1832 he sent the 
Ver\' Rev. Juan Felipe Ortiz to Santa Fe as Vicar 
Forane, with jurisdiction over New Mexico, but the 


scarcity of priests, and the nature of those whom he 
did have, left the people in a sad condition of relig- 
ious neglect, and, as for education, scarcely any 
effort was made either by the government or the 
clergy for any kind of instruction. 

These conditions lasted, and were growing 
worse, until 1846, when General S. W. Kearney took 
possession of Santa Fe and established Fort Marcy 
on the heights above it. The treaty of GTuadalupe- 
Hidalgo confirmed the title of the United States, and 
New Mexico was organized as a Territory in 1851, 
with Santa Fe continuing as its capital as it had been 
under Spanish and Mexican rale. 

In Santa Fe there were no imposing sights, such 
as are found in many other cities. The buildings 
were nearly all very plain, built of adobe, and few 
of them more than one story in height. The old gov- 
ernment building, called "'The Palace," built before 
Jamestown on the Atlantic was settled, is of historic 
interest. It occupies one side of the Plaza, is of 
adobe and only one story high, but it presents a strik- 
ing appearance with its massive walls and colonnade 
along its entire front. Originally it formed a square, 
with a courtyard within, where the Spanish garrison 
was quartered, but that portion of the rectangle 
fronting on the Plaza is the only part now preser^^ed. 
Bandelier says of it (1890) : 

This ancient palace surpasses in historic interest and value 
any other place or object in the United States. It antedates the 
settlement of Jamestown by nine years, and that of Plymouth by 
22, and has stood during the 292 years since its erection, not as 
a cold rock or monument, with no claim on the interest of human- 


ity except the bare fact of its existence, but as a liWng center 
of everj'thing of historic importance in the Southwest. Through 
all that long period, whether under Spanish, Mexican or Ameri- 
can control, it has been the seat of power and authority. 
Whether the ruler was called viceroy, captain general, political 
chief, department commander or governor, and whether he pre- 
sided over a kingdom, a province, a department or a territory, 
this has been his official residence. PVom here Onate started, 
in 1599, on his adventurous expedition over the Eastern plains; 
here seven years later, 800 Indians came from far off Quivira to 
ask aid in their war with the Axtaos; from here, in 1618, Vin- 
cente de Salivar set forth to the Moqui oduritrj-, only to be turned 
back by rumors of the giants to be encountered; and from here 
Penalosa and his brilliant troop started on the 6th of March, 
1662, on their marvelous exi>edition to the Missouri; in one of 
its strong rooms the commissary general of the Inquisition was 
imprisoned a few years later by the same Peiialosa ; within its 
walls, fortified as for a siege, the bravest of the Spaniards were 
massed in the revolution of 16S0; here, on the 19th of August, 
of that year, was given the order to execute foriy-spven Pueblo 
prisoners in the Plaza which faces the building; here, but a day 
later, was the sad war council held which determined on the 
evacuation of the city; here was the scene of the triumph of 
the Pueblo chieftains as they ordered the destruction of the 
Spanish archives and the church ornaments in one grand con- 
flagration; here De Vargas, on September 14. Ui92, after the 
eleven hours' combat of the preceding day, gave thanks to the 
Virgin Mary, to whose aid he attributed his triumphal capture of 
the city; here, more than a centurj' later, on March 3, 1807, Lieu- 
tenant Pike was brought before Governor Alencaster as an in- 
Tader of Spanish soil; here, in 1822, the Mexican standard, with 
its eairle and cactus, was raised in the token that New Mexico 
was no longer a dependency of Spain; from here, on the 6th 
of August, 1837, Governor Perez started to subdue the insurrec- 
tion in the North, only to return two days later and meet his 
death on the 9th near Agua Fria; here, on the succeeding day, 
.Tose Gonzales, a. Pueblo Indian of Taos, was installed as gov- 
ernor of New Mexico, soon after to be executed by order of Ar- 
mijo; here, in the principal reception room, on Auirust 12. 184(>. 
Captain Cooke, the American envoy, was received by Governor 
Armijo and sent back with a message of defiance; and here, five 
daj's later. General Kearney formally took possession of the city 
and slept, after his long and wear>' march, on the carpeted floor 
of the palace. (He might have added that here also, while gov- 


ernor of New Mexico, General Lew Wallace finished his tale of 
Ben Hnr). 

From every point of view, it is the most important historical 
building in the country, and its ultimate use should be as the 
home of the wonderfully varied collection of antiquities which 
New Mexico will furnish. 

The old Church of San Miguel, perhaps the old- 
est now in the United States, was built nearly 300 
years ago. It was burned by the Indians in 1680, but 
was restored, and stands substantially the same to- 
day, except the front and tower, which were changed 
by modern restorations. 

In a little room at the base of the tower of San 
Miguel is the sweetest-toned bell in America, and per- 
haps the richest. It, too, has its history, filled with 
poetry and romance of the ages of faith. 

In 1356, so the legend runs, the Spaniards were 
fighting the Moors. Battle after battle was fought 
and lost by the Christians, until the people vowed a 
bell to St. Joseph as a gage of their confidence in his 
assistance. They brought their gold and silver plate, 
their rings and their bracelets, their brooches and 
ear-rings and cast them into the melting-pot with the 
other metal. The bell was cast, and in its tone were 
the richness of gold and the sweetness of sacrifice. 
It sounded the defeat of Moslemism in Spain, and 
then came to ring in the birth of Christianity in Mex- 
ico, and with the Padres it found its way up the Rio 
Grande to rest and ring out its sweet notes over the 
City of Holy Faith. 

"In the old adobe church stands the bell — 

From the ancient tower its notes have ceased to swell 

O'er the houses, quaint and low. 

Oil) San Mil. I ii.'s Cm ki ii. 


Whence it summoned long: ago 

Spanish conquerer, Indian slave, 

All to gather 'neath this nave. 

Pealed it many a bygone day 

O'er the roofs of Santa Fe. 

And before that, century long, 

Had it sent its sacred song 

O'er the hills and vales of distant, sunny Spain. 

Six long centuries have passed 

Since the ancient bell was cast, 

And sounded forth its first long sweet re f lain. 

Strike it now and you shall hear, 

Sweet and soft, and silver clear, 

Such a note as thrills your heart 

With its tender, magic art. 

Echoing softly through the gloom 

Of that ancient, storied room. 

Dying softly, far away, 

In the church at Santa Fe. " 

Tltere were several other churches and chapels 
in various stages of preser\'ation and decay, and 
among them the Parrochia, built on the site of the 
first churcli erected by Fray Benevides. At the time 
of the coming of Bishop Lamy this church was occu- 
pied by the government officials, but it was returned 
to the Bishop, and upon this site he built his 

As a city, Santa Fe has but little of the wonder- 
ful, yet it is a picture in itself. The narrow, winding 
and irregular streets, the long rows of low adobe 
houses, with bleak fronts relieved only by doors lead- 
ing to unseen courts and gardens within, the strange 
figures u])on the streets — Indians in bright blankets, 
Mexicans in every hue and gaud of color, children 
almost in nature's garb, cabelleros in boots, spurs 
and tasseled fineiy, women with loads ujxmi their 


heads, and moving mountains of wood and corn- 
shucks under which by close inspection you wiJl find 
a burro, the apparent absence of all worry, the cer- 
tain absence of all haste, the bright sunsliine and the 
clear atmosphere of 7,000 feet elevation — put all 
these together and you have something of Santa Fe. 

This brief description of New Mexico and Santa 
Fe will give us a better understanding of the condi- 
tions under which Bishop Lamy and Father Mache- 
beuf had to work. Bishop Lamy had told Father 
Machebeuf that he wished him to come with him to 
New Mexico ''to share his burdens," and as Vicar 
General he had a share in them all. In some cases 
the share equaled the whole, and such burdens were 
generally the most disagreeable. 

The first trouble came from an unexpected quar- 
ter, but Father Machebeuf v:as not jilone in it. Their 
first care had been to get possession of the churches, 
chapels and all ecclesiastical property. There was 
no difficulty with any of these except in the case of 
the church which had been taken by the secular 
authorities during the late troubles. The question 
of right seemed to be clear, but an anti-Catholic 
prejudice was somehow raised and the Judge of the 
Supreme Court at Santa Fe was strongly imbue<i 
with it. He was not a total abstainer by any manner 
of means, and this was the cause of his undoing. 

One certain Sunday night, when he had indulged 
far beyond the limits of pinidence, and while laboring 
under the effects of his indiscretion, he announced 
defiantly that he would not give up the church to 


Bishop Lamy and Father Machebeuf, but that he 
would have them both hanged from the same gibbet. 
Such an expression might pass in the community 
where he had been reared and schooled, but he mis- 
calculated his audience when he gave utterance to it 
in the presence of five or six Mexicans. Early next 
morning the Judge's remarks were known through- 
out the whole city, and indignation ran high. A pe- 
tition was gotten up and signed by more than a 
thousand Catholics, Protestants, civilians and sol- 
diers, asking for justice and the return of the church 
to the Bishop. In the meantime an excited mob gath- 
ered and marched to the i)lace where the bigot Judge 
had taken refuge. He called upon the military au- 
thorities for protection, but the Commander of the 
Fort was disgusted with lum and refused his demand, 
at the same time sending an officer to Bishop Lamy to 
assure him that the entire garrison was at his service 
in case he needed any protection against the Judge 
or his adherents. For two hours Father Machebeuf 
and a Catholic oflBcer from the Fort stood between 
the mob and its trembling victim, who begged for 
mercy and promised to do justice. That evening he 
went to Bishop Lamy to beg pardon and apologize, 
and the next day in open court, held in the church 
itself in the presence of the governor and all the civil 
and military authorities, he solemnly turned over the 
property to its rightful owner, and the episode ended 
happily. This was the first and last attempt to raise 
the standard of Knownothingism in New Mexico. 

This matter being settled. Father Machebeuf 


took charge of this particular church and proceeded 
to put it in condition for service. When this was 
done Bishop Lamy decided to make this his cathedral 
until a better one could be provided. 

Besides these churches there were several 
smaller chapels for public use, one dedicated to Our 
Lady of Guadalupe, one to Our Lady of the Rosary 
and one to Our Lady of Light. This last chapel was 
also under the special charge of Father Machebeuf. 

Having thus formally taken possession of his 
diocese and arranged the preliminaries satisfactorily 
so far. Bishop Lamy and the Vicar of the Bishop of 
Durango set out for Old Mexico. The cutting off of 
the territory of New Mexico from the jurisdiction of 
the Bishop of Durango appears to have been done 
without asking his consent, and he made some objec- 
tion to the yielding up of his authority to another 
without the usual formalities. This hesitancy on the 
part of the Bishop of Durango gave to some of the 
New Mexican priests the color of an excuse to refuse 
to acknowledge the authority of Bishop Lamy. It 
was not that they had any doubt of his authority, but 
that they did not want a bishop so near them who 
might insist upon a change in their manner of living. 
It was to arrange these matters with the Bishop of 
Durango and get his formal renunciation of author- 
ity that Bishop Lamy set out on this new journey of 
1,500 miles only six weeks after his arrival in Santa 
Fe. The business of the trip was successfully and 
amicably arranged, but Bishop Lamy did not return 
until about Christmas, and during this time the ad- 


mmistratioii of tlie new Vicariate was in the hands 
of Father Machebeuf. 

Although Father Machebeuf did not attempt any 
great reforms during tliis period, it was in reaJity the 
most trying portion of his career in New Mexico. His 
knowledge of Spanish was very imperfect, and his 
duties left him very little time for study, yet he was 
obliged to receive all sorts of visitors and keep up a 
correspondence in Spanish with priests and people, 
and he complained of the unusual strain upon his 
possibilities, but he never ceased in work or en- 
deavor. On the contrary, he added to his labors by 
beginning to instruct the people in short sermons. It 
was a renewal of his first experience at Tifl&n and 
Sandusky, but this time he had greater confidence, 
brought by time, and also by the nature of his hear- 
ers, most of whom were sadly lacking in education, 
and were not disposed to be critical. 

The scarcity of priests was so great that both 
Bishop Lamy and F'ather Machebeuf were obliged to 
become real missionaries again. When Bishop Lamy 
went through his diocese he traveled as a missionary 
and did missionary work cverywliore. and when he 
was at home he took his share in the parish work like 
an ordinary priest and sent Father Machebeuf on 
missionary duty to vacant parishes, and also to those 
that were not vacant in order to revive the faith of 
the priest and the peo])Ie. Where the Mexican 
priests could be reanimated with zeal they were as- 
sisted and encouraged, but where nothing could be 
done with theni in tliis way thev were relieved from 


duty and permitted to go away, or they were sus- 
pended from all exercise of their ministry. 

A few exemplary and zealous priests were found 
by Bishop Lamy during the first few months of his 
administration, who were willing to devote them- 
selves to the care of extensive districts until more 
help would come, and thus the faith was at least kept 
alive. The city of Santa Fe was so well provided for 
that, in April, 1852, Bishop Lamy felt able to absent 
himself in order to attend the First Plenary Council 
of Baltimore, and to leave Father Machebeuf suffi- 
ciently free to look after the affairs of the diocese 
without being bound down by parish work at one 
place. How Father Machebeuf enjoyed this semi- 
freedom with hard work may be seen from his own 
words in the following extracts from a letter to his 
sister from Peiia Blanca under date of May 31, 1852 : 

I write you from the beautiful village of Pena Blanca on 
the banks of the Rio del Norte, located in a chaiTning valley be- 
tween two chains of mountains with the river flowing down the 
middle. From the window of my room I can see the richness of 
the soil in the abundant harvest of wheat, corn and wine prom- 
ised to the laborer, and beyond the limpid Rio the picturesque 
mountains with their slopes covered with majestic pines, and 
their summits crowned almost with eternal snow, which the 
winds and heats of summer fail to dissolve. But it would re- 
quire the poetic temperament of a Father De Smet to appreciate 
it fully and describe it, as he described such scenes to me from 
his own experience of travel in the mountains. I am now quite 
accustomed to scaling the mountain heights and crossing the 
winding streams, but I have not the gi-and and beautiful boats 
as once upon the Ohio, only a pair of neat Mexican ponies with 
no poetry in them, and in their company the Muse refuses to 
mount to Parnassus. But what need have we of poetry? 

You will, perhaps, ask what I am doing in this village of 
Peiia Blanca? During the absence of the Bishop, who went, the 


tirst of April, to assist at a Council of the Bishops at Baltimore, 
1 am not too busy at the Capital, and I put in my spare time 
visiting the abandoned parishes and villajjes. When I say 
abandoned I do not wish you to understand that they are en- 
tirely deprived of the services of a priest, but that they are 
visited only two or three times a year. 

The lack of instruction and other helps has left relijsrion in 
a deplorable condition in New Mexico. Its practice is almost 
entirely lost, and there remains little but the exterior shell. 
With such i<rnorance the consequent corruption can easily be 
imagined, and all the immorality that must (low from it. Then, 
like the physiciar who must breathe the pestilent air while ap- 
plying his remedies for the cure of the sick, we are obliged to go 
everywhere, and give to all an opportunity of hearing the word 
of God, for which most of them are famishing. In spite of their 
ignorance and immorality, they hunger for instruction, and they 
have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It is a blind de- 
votion, and is sometimes mixed with fanaticism and superstition, 
but it gives us hope that, explained and properly directed, it will 
lead to good results. 

A priest in our position, if he wishes to remain faithful to 
his sacred character, feels the necessity, here more than any- 
where else, of the protection of Mary, the Queen of the clergy, 
and the assistance of pious souls. Gladly, then, do I accept the 
offer of a union of prayers with the members of your community 
and other pious persons, for, if the zeal and charity of pious 
souls can do anything to help the missionar>', this, of all the 
places in the world, is where it ought to be done, where we are 
surrounded by a thousand dangers unknown in France. But, 
since it was solely obedience to the designs of God that tore me 
away from my dear Sandusky and placed me in this portion of 
His vineyard, so overrun with thorns and thistles, I hope that 
His grace will sustain me, and while I am occupied combating 
His enemies I trust that you and others will not cease to raise 
your hands and voices to heaven in prayer for us all. 

As the source of evil here is the profound ignorance of the 
people, the first remedy must be instruction, and for this we need 
Christian schools for the youtli of both sexes, but especially for 
young girls. The means of fonning them to virtue, and to good 
example, which is rare in New Mexico, is the establishment of 
religious houses conducted by persons devoted to their calling, 
and filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice. To this end the Bishop 
has already opened a school for boys in our house, and he has 


knocked at many a door in the United States in order to secure 
Sisters for the girls. 

I do not know if his Lordship will succeed in this while he 
is away, but in order to have everything- ready upon his return 
in August, I bought, just three days ago, a large house at the 
other side of the church. It has a frontage of more than two 
hundred feet, and a large court in the middle with a portico all 
around in the form of a cloister. Besides some outbuildings 
there are twenty-six rooms, five or six of which are very large, 
and as it is surrounded on all sides by wide streets there is noth- 
ing to fear from the neighbors. I bought it from a Frenchman 
who lives in St. Louis, and he was very generous in his price and 
in the manner of payments. It costs us $6,500. I do not know 
where we shall find that sum of money, but the acquisition was 
indispensable. The Bishop wished to buy it before he left, but 
he did not have the time and he authorized me to buy it in his 
name. We can now expect to see a religious establishment soon 
flourishing in Santa Fe, and there are over thirty children of the 
wealthiest families impatiently waiting for its opening. 

Of the many doors at which Bishop Lamy knock- 
ed for Sisters, at least one opened to him and re- 
ceived him with good will. This was the Mother- 
house of the first-born Sisterhood of the West— the 
Lorettines of Kentucky. They could hardly refuse 
to listen to his appeal, for the work which he offered 
to them was in direct line with the plans of their 
venerable founder, Father Nerinckx. 

The founding of the Order of the Sisters of Lo- 
retto, in 1812, was a timely work. There was a special 
hannony of adaptation among all the elements and 
circumstances of its establishment. The condition of 
the Western settlements of America in 1812 was one 
of poverty and limited means of instruction. There, 
as everywhere else, ignorance, and especially relig- 
ious ignorance, was the prolific mother of evil, and 
the later sins of New Mexico were not unknown 


among the iguoraut ones of early Kentucky, Hatred 
for the Churcli was growing as another consequence 
of ignorance, and open persecution was not far re- 
moved down in the category of probable coming 
evils. Religious instruction would be the saving of 
those who should be of the faith — it would reach 
many others directly, and indirectly thousands of 
others would be affected until the leaven of good 
would gradually work through the entire mass of 
the poi)ulation. Christian education was a crying 
need in Kentucky; a conscious need for the Cath- 
olics; unconscious for the others, but not the less 

If God ever raised up a man with the spirit of 
self-sacrifice of the kind necessary to meet the call 
for instruction in these very circumstances, that man 
was the Rev, Charles Nerinckx, He had felt the ul- 
timate fur\' of ignorance and wickedness, and was a 
victim of their suj)reme and ready appeal to perse- 
cution. The sins of others had made an apostle of 
Father Nerinckx, and he deemed his life, his labors 
and fortune of little moment if by them he c^uld only 
spare others the contamination of sin, or avc^rt from 
them its conse<] nonces. 

But, to give any practical effect to his ideas of 
instruction for those who could not receive it under 
the present difficult conditions, he needed an excep- 
tional body of teachers. Others forest^illcd him in 
his plans for young men, but not before he had suc- 
f^eeded in his efforts for the female sex. For that 
part of his work he was wonderfully fortunate, and 


he might have searched the world over in vain for 
better material to aid him in carrying out his ideas 
of letting in the grace of religious enlightenment 
upon the souls of the young to show them the beauty 
and the reward of virtue. His assistants came to him 
ready and competent to fulfill the desires of his big 
heart, and they and their successors were worthy of 
their founder. A field for their labors never lacked 
them, and, while the visible results of their work are 
magnificent, the greatest portion of the good which 
they have done lies hidden with God. 

Men are prone to judge of the success of an insti- 
tution by the signs of its material prosperity. Such 
a judgment will ever be among the possibly errone- 
ous, unless it be of a financial or industrial institu- 
tion, but judged even by this standard, Loretto has 
been a grand success, and who will calculate the far- 
reaching work done in lives which otherwise would 
never have known the beauty of virtue as they 
learned to know it there, and the inspiration given to 
those lives which made them a well-spring of virtue 
to others? 

Great monuments are erected with money; 
money measures services which have had their re- 
ward in Mammon, but God's work is silent, and 
labors for the poor build monuments not on earth 
but in heaven. There is a thousand times more of 
God's history in the plain statue erected in New 
Orleans, with the single word ''Margaret" on its 
pedestal than in any palace that was ever built. 
The great world will say that it never heard of that 


statue, while it lias heard of many palaces. This 
proves that God works in secret, and the world em- 
blazons forth its deeds. Go and learn something of 
that statue ; the subject is worthy of the study. 

The early days of Loretto were days of ix)verty 
and privation, but they were days of honor. Every 
one of her old institutions and old buildings can tell 
a story of love and labor for God and humanity which 
cannot be written in the sculptured marble of modem 
piles, where every line of the artist's chisel means an 
increase in the distance which separates their work 
from God's poor, and that means from the masses of 
humanity. These must make sacrifices for necessary 
things; the rich alone can pay for life's luxuries. 
Good Father Nerinckx understood the divine plan of 
preaching the Gospel to the poor, he embodied a por- 
tion of it in the Sisterhood of Loretto, and his spirft- 
ual daughters carried out well their part of the work. 
Every day we are passing away, and as each one 
passes there is a reverent memory that lingers, and 
attaches, not to walls of brick or stone, which we may 
have erected, but to the grandeur of character, which 
may have been clothed in tlie simplest and humblest 
exterior, but which sought God's glory, and counted 
"all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge 
of Jesus Christ." 

The memories that remain of the departed Sis 
ters of Loretto prove their devotion to the great ob- 
ject of their order, so well carried out at .the Mother 
house, at dear old Bethlehem— the brightest star in 
the mother's crown, for it is nearest to the heart of 


the work as Father Nerinckx knew it, and it must be 
nearest to his heart in heaven— and in their many 
other similar establishments throughout the length 
and breadth of the land. 

To instruct and save the ignorant was the aim 
of the saintly Nerinckx, and to this end Loretto has 
applied itself and its means. Wealth was the great 
danger which he feared for it, and the legacy of pre- 
cious rules, drawn up by his own hand for its guid- 
ance, concludes with the prayer that this child of his 
pains and labors may never meet with the temptation 
of riches. Its great work was to be among the poor, 
and when it ceased there to labor, then would its right 
arm be paralyzed. The field will never be lacking: 
"The poor you will ever have with you." "Esto 
perpetua ! " Go on thus, and be thou perpetual ! 

"The tumult and the shouting dies; 
The captains and the kings depart; 
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice — 
An humble and a contrite heart. 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget." 

Such an institution could not refuse to listen to 
the appeal of Bishop Lamy for assistance in saving 
the young of New Mexico. Neither God nor His 
Church recognizes any patent of nobility based upon 
race, color or social standing. If Father Nerinckx 
showed a preference it was for those whom the 
world esteemed least, and his worthy daughters did 
not hesitate now. The distance, the dangers of travel, 
the difficulties of language, the certainty of poverty 
and the dreary prospect of a life of exile in a strange 


land among a strange people did not frighten the 
Sisters. For every one of these things they had the 
example of Fatlior Nerinokx, and surely they would 
DOW have his prayers in heaven while followmg so 
faithfully m his footsteps on earth. It was like a 
favor to be asked to go, and many a Sister prayed 
that she might be worthy of the call. 

Six were chosen, but only four of the number 
reached Santa Fe; God was satisfied with the sacrifice 
of the others. Sickness forced one to return to Lo- 
retto after half the journey was made, and another 
was taken by the angel of death, and her mortal re- 
mains were laid away by her weeping sisters in a 
tomb on the border line between civilization and sav- 
agery. . , 

Their arrival in Santa Fe marked an era m the 
history of the Church in New Mexico. Then began 
the wonderful work of reformation which Father 
Machebeuf foretold would be accomplished after the 
application of this first remedy. The most sanguine 
of the trembling hopes of the Sisters was more than 
realized, and their fears, if ever they had any, never 
returne<l to darken their brightest prospects. 1 heir 
school prospered from the beginning, and ei-e long, 
ill that land so sadly pictured by Father Machebeuf 
a novitiate was established where the daugliters of 
New Mexico hastened to consecrate their virginity to 
God, and their lives to the redemption of their sisters. 
Enlightened religion has done nmch for New 
Mexico, and a great portion of the credit for its 
spread must be giv(>n to the Sisters of Loretto in 


their well-named Academy of Our Lady of Light in 
Santa Fe, and its dependencies in various other parts 
of the Territory, 

Bishop Lamy and Father Machebeuf , in prepar- 
ing for the Sisters of Loretto and bringing them to 
New Mexico, builded better than they knew at that 
time, for, humble, painful and unpromising as that 
beginning was, it was fruitful in consequences for 
good, and no less than twelve other establishments 
trace their origin to it directly or indirectly. 


o ^f tv,p qi^tpr^ of Loretto.-Father Machebeuf Goes 

cate of Character. 

The expected return of Bishop Lamy from the 
States did not take place until towards the end ol 
ScDtember, 1852. He had secured six Sisters of Lo- 
retto at the Motherhouse in Kentucky for the new 
academy, and together they started on their west- 
wTrd trip. In later years New Mexico was under 
heavy obligations to Auvergne in France for its re- 
ligious teachers, when nearly all its priests were n.v 
tives of that province, but in the beginning Ken ucky 
had the strongest claims upon its gra itude^ Bishop 
Lamv was pastor of a church m Covington, K) .. 
wh'n he was' appointed Vicar Apostolic of New Mex- 
Tco and now the teachers who were to take such an 
important part in the religious education and cons^ 
quent uplifting of the people of N- ^f™"'^''^'^ 
sent out bv the same Mother Diocese of the West. 

All tiie Sisters, however, who set out on that 
first mission were not to reach their proposed d<«t.^ 
nation. The dreaded cholera broke out <»> the boa 
upon wliich they had taken passage from St. Loui. 
to the frontier town of Independence in Misson k 
Sister Matilda, the Superior of the little colony, died 
^ he boat, July 13, and was buried at Independence 


the following day. Two other Sisters were attacked 
by the scourge and their lives despaired of, but they 
eventually recovered. One of them, however. Sister 
Monica, was so enfeebled by the attack that she was 
unable to endure the trip across the plains, and she 
remained at Independence until sufficiently recov- 
ered to return to Loretto. Sister Mary Magdalen 
Hayden was chosen Superior to succeed Sister Ma- 
tilda, and with Sisters Catherine, Hilaria and Ro- 
berta, began their long journey over the desert. 

To say that the trip was without incident would 
be putting it very mildly. There were no exciting 
episodes, but every day of that long journey was a 
day of painful and wearying toil. The sun poured 
down upon them during the day and its heat was re- 
flected back from the dry and parched prairies, and 
were it not for the welcome coolness of the nights, 
their sufferings would have been almost unbearable. 
They met with no hostile demonstrations on the part 
of the Indians, and it was with the greatest sense of 
joy that they descried P^'ather Machebeuf coming to 
meet them, on the Red River seven days out from 
Santa Fe. 

Their trip from that time was comparatively 
easy, for they were in a partially settled country. 
Bishop Lamy left them for a time to visit a few of 
his parishes, but he met them again, and their en- 
trance into Santa Fe was made by the people an occa- 
sion almost similar to that with which Bishop Lamy 
and Father Machebeuf were greeted upon their first 
arrival a little more than a year before. 


The Sisters prepared themselves for their work 
by a short but earnest temi of study of the Spanish 
language. The people were anxious for the school 
to open, but this preparation was necessary, and ma- 
terial arrangements had to be made and the school 
could not be opened until Januai'v, 1853, but it closed 
a most successful terai in August with forty-two pu- 
pils. From that time the history of the Sisters of 
Loretto forms one of the bright volumes in the rec- 
ords of New Mexico. 

But to return to Father Machebeuf. A hint is 
given in the preceding chapter that bishops some- 
times assign the unpleasant duties to their vicars- 
general. Some work of this nature fell to Father 
Machebeuf in the attempted reformation of the Mex- 
ican priests. There was an apparent betterment in 
some of them, and a greater display of zeal, but all 
did not respond to the paternal advice and efforts of 
Bishop Lamy. 

Among those who refused to listen to the kindly 
counsels of the Bishop wa^ a certain Padre Gallegos, 
pastor of the important church of AUnuiuerque. We 
have no hesitancy in naming him, as the whole affair 
was public, and his previous and subsequent career 
was well known. 

Albuquenpie was the second city of im[>ortance 
in the Territory, and was head(|uarters for a large 
number of American troops. The Padre was very 
popular with certain classes in the parisli, and these 
were the rich, the politicians and business men, few 
of whom had any practical religion. With these he 


drank, gambled and danced, and was generally a 
good fellow. He was a man of more than ordinary 
talent, and on that account he received considerable 
respect and deference. His conduct, however, gave 
scandal to the good within the fold, and also to those 
without the fold, for it furnished them an occasion 
for reviling the Church. 

Failing to effect any good by exhortations and 
warnings, Bishop Lamy was obliged to withdraw all 
privileges and faculties from the recalcitrant priest, 
and Father Machebeuf was sent to take charge of 
Albuquerque and conciliate the people. But we shall 
let Father Machebeuf tell the story of his experience 
on this occasion : 

My position was sufficiently delicate and difficult, for he was 
very popular with his set. I took advantage of his temporary 
absence in Old Mexico to take possession of the church and to 
announce from the pulpit the sentence of the Bishop, suspending 
him from the exercise of any priestly function. 

Some time later, when I was visiting some Indian parishes 
in the mountains, about seventy-five miles from Albuquerque, I 
heard that the Padre had returned and was going to dispute the 
possession of the church with me the next Sunday. This did not 
alarm me, but I thought it best to be prepared, so I sent a mes- 
senger in haste to the Bishop to get a confirmation in writing of 
the sentence pronounced upon the Padre, and my authorization 
in clear terms to administer the affairs of the parish. 

I returned to Albuquerque on Saturday night, and on Sun- 
day morning I went to the church an hour earlier than usual in 
order to be on the ground and ready for anything that might 
happen. What was my astonishment upon arriving there to find 
the Padre in the pulpit and the church filled with people whom 
I knew to be his particular friends. These he had quietly gath- 
ered together, and now he was exciting them to revolt, or at 
least to resistance. I tried to enter the church through the 
sacristy, but this communicated with the presbytery which he 
still occupied, and I found the doors locked. Going then to the 
main door of the church I entered, and assuming an air of bold- 


uess I commanded the crowd to stand aside and make room for 
me to pass. Then, as one having authority, I forced my way 
through the crowd and passed up by the pulpit just as the Padre 
pronounced the Bishop's name and mine in connection with the 
most atrocious accusations and insultin;j; refieclions. 

I went on until I reached the highest step of the sanctuary, 
and then turning I stood listening quetly till he had finished. 
Then all the people turned to me as if expecting an answer. I 
replied, and in the clearest manner refuted all his accusations, 
and I showed, moreover, that he was guilty of the scandals which 
had brought on his punishment. I then took from my pocket 
the letter which my courier had brought me from the Bishop, 
and I read it in a loud voice. To finish, I called upon him to 
iustify himself, or at least to answer, if he had any reply to 
make But, not a word; he went out as crestfallen as a trapped 
fox and left me in peaceful possession of the church. I sang the 
hio-h mass as usual, and preached on the Gospel of the day with 
out making the least allusion to the scene which had just taken 


A few days later, to repair his humiliating defeat, he went 
to the neighborinii- villayes and used every means to arouse the 
people, and he succeeded in getting together twenty-five or thirty 
of the most influential and the richest, with some of his intimate 
friends from Santa Fe. These, profiting by the absence of the 
Prefect who was an intimate friend of mine, came to me in a 
body, a'nd. with an air of insolence and bravado, ordered me to 
leave the parish, adding that they did not want any of my ad- 
ministration, and if T did not -o they would have recourse to 
other measures. 

At that moment the good God must have given me patience 
and strength that were more than natural, for I answered them 
with firmness that I had come to take possession of the parish by 
order of the highest ecclesiastical authority, and that I would 
receive no orders except from that same authority. I to d them 
that they might take such measures as they saw fit, but, like the 
sentinel on guard, I would not quit my post, and as the shepherd 
of the flock I was ready to die for my sheep rather than aban- 
don them. , fu^^. 
This short and forcibly given answer disconcerted them, 
thev did not have a word to say in reply, but returned to the 
Padre to apprise him of the little success of their mission. Ihey 
did not know that I was an Auvergnat. -Laisin pas.' Never 

^^^ Hardly had they left me when the Prefect, whom some one 


had notified of the affair, came up in a fury. He had already 
given orders for their arrest and appearance in court, but I 
reasoned with him and finally persuaded him to drop the matter, 
for I was sure that such a course would be the best Ln the 
end. This, in effect, was the case, for a reaction took place in 
my favor and several deputations waited upon me to offer their 
services and protect me if necessary. I thanked all of them for 
their good will, but I declined any protection, as I did not fear 
any trouble. This scene took place on Saturday, and on Sunday 
morning I went to the church unattended by anyone except the 
sacristan, and the only change I noticed was that everyone I 
met saluted me with apparently greater respect than ever. There 
were only three men from Albuquerque who took part in the 
rebellion ; all the rest were from the Ranchos, or villages on the 
lands of the rich proprietors. 

From that moment the Padre lost all hope of driving me 
away, and, abandoning the Church, he went into politics. There 
was no doubt about his talents, and he used them to good effect 
in his new field, for through them he worked every kind of 
scheme until he succeeded in getting himself elected to the Con- 
gi'ess of the United States as Delegate from the Territory of 
New Mexico. 

This was the most serious trouble which Father 
Macheheuf had to meet while he was in New Mexico. 
Any other priest sent to Albuquerque would have had 
the same trouble and might not have gotten over it so 
well, but with his firmness, fearlessness and authority 
as Vicar General, Father Macheheuf commanded an 
admiration which his opponents could not refuse to 
give him, and which gained for him respect and obe- 
dience. His conduct, too, when contrasted with that 
of his predecessor, showed such disinterestedness and 
zeal for the good of the people that they soon came to 
love him as they never thought of loving the Padre. 
It was not the love for a boon companion, nor for a 
master, but for a father whom they saw seeking 
their own good both in this world and in the world 
to come. 


Elsewhere also in New Mexico matters had taken 
a more definite shape. The discipline of the Church 
was restored and the work of instructing and saving 
souls well inaugurated. The vigor and zeal of Bishop 
Lamy's administration was recognized at Rome, and 
by letters from Cardinal Fransoni, Prefect of the 
Propaganda, bearing date of August 12, 1853, it was 
announced that Santa Fe was raised to the dignity 
of a diocese. 

To sustain and advance the work of reformation 
among the people Father Machebeuf seized upon 
every means. We have seen where he spoke of their 
blind and unordered devotion to the Blessed Virgin. 
This he undertook to regulate within proper bounds 
and direct in legitimate channels. Without destroy- 
ing any of their fervor or confidence, he placed the 
devotion on its proper basis, and encouraged it espe- 
cially among the younger element of the people. 

Another custom among the Mexicans was to have 
a novena of high masses just before Christmas. This 
novena had been made one long celebration by the 
people, and was a season more of revelry and dissi- 
pation than of spiritual improvement. P^'ather Mach- 
ebeuf did not suppress this celebration, but he deter- 
mined to make it an occasion of a religious revival in 
a real Catholic sense. 

The departure of the Padre had caused no last- 
ing regrets, and, as Father Machebeuf now had the 
people well in hand with a growing po])ularity, he 
announced the novena and promised an instruction 
each day. These instructions were practical talks 


suited to the capacity of the listeners, ' ' on the great 
truths of religion, the sacraments, and the disposi- 
tions necessary for their worthy reception." He 
tells us of the wonderful success of the exercises in 
the following lines : 

Every day the church was filled, and not even one of those 
leaders from the Ranchos was missing. The last four or five 
days were spent in hearing confessions up to two o'clock in the 
morning, and I had the consolation of seeing some of those ap- 
proach the sacraments who had been the most bitter against 
the Bishop and me. But what touched me most was, that the 
people fi'om the Ranchos, whom I had advised to build a little 
chapel of their own, came to me and insisted that I should go 
and say two masses of a second novena in their chapel, or 
rather between its four walls, for the cold weather came earlier 
this year than usual and stopped the building before the roof 
was finished. Yet they put boards over it and hung up carpets, 
etc., which made a temporary and quite ornamental covering. 
They also bought two bells, which the women decked out with 
silks and flowers, and I blessed these with all the ceremony 
possible. There were about fifty communions of men and 
women on this occasion. 

The other masses of the novena I sang in another chapel 
large enough to hold about 300 persons, and I do not remember 
ever in my life to have experienced greater consolation than on 
these last days of this novena. Besides whole days, I was 
obliged to spend the nights in the confessional until two, and 
even four o'clock in the morning. The day of the closing of 
the novena, when I saw coming up to the sanctuary many an 
old sinner who had long abandoned the joractice of religion, and 
even some of the leaders in the late mutiny, I was so moved that 
I could hardly speak. I wanted to liken this occasion to the 
feast prepared by the father at the return of the Prodigal Sou, 
but my voice failed me. My emotion choked me, and the 
sobbing of the people forced me to stop three different times, 
while men and women shed teai's of repentance and devotion. 
When I announced to them that I would be obliged to leave 
them and go to live at Santa Fe while the Bishop was away, 
the entire audience burst into tears again and would not be 
comforted until I promised to come one Sunday in the month 
during his absence. It was a hard parting for me, but a soft- 
ening feature came into it when many of the hitherto neglectful 


ones came lo tell me tliat they would i)iei)aie themselves for the 
sacraments at my next cominy;. 

These are thinjifs which console us in our isolation, or species 
of exile where we are cut otT from the world, surrounded by 
high mountains, and separated from the United States, Mexico 
and California by vast plains. Oh, if the Bishop could brinj: 
us from P"'rance a few good priests what an immensity of good 
could be done! What pleasure I would have in seeing my 
Rancheros coming back — these same men who came to my room 
to insult and threaten me! Ves, the grace of God is powerful. 

The absence of Bishop Lainy, to which Father 
Machebeuf refers in the foregoing-, was for the i)ur- 
pose of a voyage to France and Rome. It would be 
the occasion of his first visit ad limina, and he hoped 
to induce some of the young and zealous ecclesiastics 
of his native country to come to New Mexico. He 
had influenced a few by letter, but he felt that lie 
would be far more successful if he could speak t<» 
them personally. He left Santa Fe about the 1st of 
Februaiy, 1854, and was absent until the IHth of 

During the absence of Bishop Lamy, Father 
Machebeuf was in full control of all the church af- 
fairs in New Mexico. With one assistant at Santa 
Fe, he attended to all the needs of that place, caring 
for the parish and schools, and paying his monthly 
visit to Albuquerque. Other parishes and missions 
he visited occasionally, and things went on with no 
friction. Nothing new could be undertaken, for the 
stubboni members of the old clergy had been dis- 
posed of and their places were not yet filled. Those 
who remained, and the few whom Bishop Lamy had 
introduced into the diocese, were doing the best tliey 
could to visit the people as often as possible, while 


giving them hope that the Bishpp would bring them 
j:)ermanent pastors upon his return. 

The only extraordinary affair during this period 
was an echo from the old trouble at xA.lbuquerque. 
The former Padre refused to give up the presbytery, 
and showed title deeds purporting to be from the 
Bishop of Durango conveying the property to him. 
Father Machebeuf began a suit of ejectment, and re^ 
covered the property by laying before the court offi- 
cials letters from the Bishop of Durango denying any 
transfer of the property. The Padre's title was, in 
consequence, pronounced fraudulent by the court and 
Father Machebeuf entered upon possession without 
further trouble. The cause of the Padre had no 
longer any adherents, and when Father Machebeuf 
at last told the people of Albuquerque that the Bish- 
op would return in a few days, and that his next visit 
would be to take up his permanent residence among 
them, their joy knew no bounds. His own joy was 
great also, for he was as anxious to be with them aa 
they were to have him. Of them he says : 

They are dear to me, for the more a mother suffers from a 
sick and petulant child, the more she loves it. So it is with me, 
and every day I have new proofs that my parishioners share my 
sentiments. They never before testified such respect and confi- 
dence as they did at my last visit when I told them that I would 
soon come to fix my residence again with them. 

Another grand welcome met Bishop Lamy upon 
his retura. The whole population turned out to meet 
him, triumphal arches were erected over the streets 
where he had to pass, a body of cavalry escorted him 
and salvos of artillery hailed him. The one sad note 
in the chorus of universal joy was the death sigh of 


one of the Bishop's party, a young subdeacon, of 

whom Father Machebeuf writes : 

The same day occurred the death of Abbe Vaure, a younp 
subdeacon of great talent and eminent virtue The next day 
we had another procession, but it was a sorrowful one. It was 
sad to see the three subdeacons and one deacon carrying the 
corpse of their dear dead countrjman. I hope that the Lord 
accepted his sacrifice and will take account of his pious desires. 

Several priests also arrived with Bishop Lamy, 
and Father Machebeuf installed them in their new 
positions and introduced them to their congregations. 
He accompanied Father Juillard to Belen, and 
Father Martin to Isleta, while Father Avel was left 
to assist with the work at Santa Fe. 

It may be a matter of some wonder that these 
priests were sent out so soon among a strange people 
with whose language they were not yet familiar, but 
the necessities were such that it could not be helped, 
and it was but a rei>etition of Father Machebeuf 's 
own case, for he was sent out after three weeks* 
preparation, and no one can say that his work was 
not efficient and successful. 

The new priests were not long in mastering 
eveiy detail of their work, and under the united ef- 
forts of a more numerous and zealous clerg>' religious 
conditions imi)roved rapidly. The people were m- 
structed in doctrine and made to see its practical 
obligations, and their moral tone was proportionately 
elevated They grew more anxious for mstniction 
for themselves and for their children. The excellent 
work of the schools was evident everywhere a pupil 
returned home from the care of the Sisters, and more 


and more the families desired to have their daughters 
educated by these teachers who could make them such 
refined and Christian gentlewomen. In a short time 
the original colony of Sisters found themselves una- 
ble to meet the demands made upon them, and it was 
necessary to increase their accommodations and 
strengthen their teaching force. They applied to the 
Motherhouse in Kentucky for additional help and a 
new band was sent out to assist them in their work. 

The journey of this new colony of Sisters was 
much the same as for all travelers over the Santa Fe 
Trail in those days, but there was one event which 
was a little out of the ordinary, and entirely new in 
the experience of the Sisters. 

They left Louisville, Ky., on May 12, 1855, and 
towards the end of June they reached Independence, 
Mo., where they met Father Machebeuf, who was to 
be their guide for the remainder of their journey. 
The incident was related by Mother Ann Joseph, who 
was of the party, and who came from Santa Fe to 
establish St. Marj^'s Academy in Denver in 1864. 
She died at Florissant, Mo., only a few years ago : 

All went well with us until July 16, when the caravan with 
which we traveled halted for breakfast. As the ambulances of 
the Sisters were the last to enter the circle of wagons they were 
placed in the center. Father Machebeuf had put up his tent, in 
which he said mass and all the Sisters received holy communion. 

After our thanksgiving we had breakfast, and while seated 
at our improvised table talking cheerfully we heard the alarm- 
ing cry: "Indians! Indians!" Looking towards the east we 
saw the whole bluff covered with Indians on horseback, their 
faces and arms painted in warlike style. 

They swooped doAvn upon us like so many eagles. We were 
told to get into our ambulances, the curtains were drawn down 


and fastened, and the heavy duck covers for protection in time 
of storms were tied down over them. The horses and mules, to 
the niunber of about 200, were driven within the circle of wag- 
ons, and there we were in the midst of them. The outside tem- 
perature was about ninety degrees, not a shade tree was in sight, 
and there we were with no protection but our closed ambulances. 

Soon the savages eutei'ed the circle and became vei\v curious 
to see what was in the ambulances. The drivers sat on the seats 
in fi'ont, and every time an Indian tiied to lift the covers and 
peep in they used their whips upon him. The merchants who 
owned the wagons and the merchandise with which they were 
laden, were very generous to the savages, and gave them many 
presents of blankets, calicoes, manta. sugar, tobacco, molasses. 
etc. Father Machebeuf gave them many medals, and he was 
anxious to redeem a captive Mexican whom the Indians had. 
but he did not succeed. 

After keeping us shut uj» in our air-tight prisons from ten 
o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon about half 
of the Indians left, but the rest of them hung around until about 
five o'clock, when the caravan started for a better place to camp 
for the night. After a short drive we reached a convenient 
spot for camping, and when we descended from our ambu- 
lances where we had been imprisoned for so many houi*s, we 
were unable to stand on our feet for some time. However, we 
were thankful that it was no worse. We have often since 
laughed at our predicament when we were in the close, hot am- 
bulances, praying as hard as we could, with fear in our hearts 
and the perspiration oozing from every pore, but it was no mat- 
ter for amusement at the time. 

During our journey the good Father Machebeuf often sent 
some of his men ahead of the caravan to select a good spot in 
which to camp for the night, and instructed them to plant young 
trees so as to represent a grove whenever we came to a wooded 
part of the countiT, and he would go on in advance and be on 
the spot to welcome us to our little garden or grove. He would 
often bring into camp beautiful flowers, or shells found upon 
the jtrairies, and in every way try to cheer us after a long 
weary day of travel. We arrived at Santa F«' on July 24th. 

This same story was among Father Macliebuef s 
interesting stock of anecdotes. He had a fund of 
such, and there were many otliers which lie did not 
tell, na thev seemed to him to h<' onlv ordinary inci 


dents. He traveled much and often met with bands 
of roving Indians. It was never safe to trust these 
too far, for on many an occasion like the one just 
described they did not hesitate at a massacre when 
they saw that they had the mastery. It was the con- 
sciousness of their own weakness that often made the 
Indians apparently friendly, but in the midst of their 
strongest professions of friendship they were keenly 
on the scent for every opportunity of stealing. But 
friendly or hostile, they never attempted any harm 
to Father Machebeuf, and he did not seem to have 
any fear of them. He never put off any journey be- 
cause the Indians were on the war path, but he would 
calmly set out, saying: "Oh, the Indians would not 
hurt me ! ' ' 

On one of his trips Father Machebeuf, with sev- 
eral others, was making the ascent of Apache Canon. 
The Indians were more troublesome than usual, and 
had killed several soldiers in the vicinity only a few 
days before. When part way up the steep ascent he 
mounted his horse and rode on, leaving his com- 
panions toiling slowly along. At the summit of the 
mountain the stage people had a station for the 
change of horses. When Father Machebeuf came 
near the station he found it besieged by a party of 
Indians. Without any signs of fear he approached 
and the chief met him half way. 

"Are you Captain?" asked the Indian. 
"No, Captain," said Father Machebeuf, show- 
ing his crucifix. 

"You Padre?" said the chief. 


"Yes, I am Padre," answereil Fatlier Mache- 

"How d'ye do?" said the chief. 

Then the chief and all the Indians shook iiands 
with him. Next they asked him if he had seen any 
soldiers on tlie road, and Father Machebeuf told 
tliem that there was a troop now coming uj) the 
mountain. The Indians then held a consultation, and 
mounting their ponies they cried: "A<lios, Padre," 
and rode away. Father Machebeuf found three 
Americans in the beseiged station, and they looked 
upon him as the ])reserver of their lives, which wa> 
probably true, and they made him stay with them 
until the next day. 

An amusing instance of his experience with the 
Indians wliich he used to tell, was when a band of 
Indians with a petty chief early one morning rode 
into his camp on the plains. It is the singular privi- 
lege of an Indian to be always hungry and asking 
for something to eat. This band, of course, was 
hungry, and Father Machebeuf supplied them as 
liberally as he could from his own slender store. 
The chief became very friendly and insisted upon 
sounding his (»wn praises, and repeating that he was 
"Heap good Indian." To prove his assertion, he 
produced a certificate of good conduct which he had 
received from an army officer in the service of the 
United States at some post on the frontier. He wns 
very proud of it and he wanted Father Machebeuf 
to read it and be convinced. Upon looking at the 
paper. Father Machebeuf found it to read as follows: 


* ' I hereby certify that the bearer is the biggest thief 
unhung, and I warn all who may read this paper to 
be on their guard against him. ' ' 

Father Machebeuf smiled when he read the 
paper, and the Indian, taking this for a sign of ap- 
proval, insisted upon an additional line from him. 
The more recommendations he had, the better would 
be his chances in begging. Feeling that he could not 
well refuse. Father Machebeuf added the following 
postscript : ' ' I have met the person described in the 
foregoing, and I have found no reason to dispute the 
truth of the above declaration, or the necessity of the 
warning. ' ' 

Carefully stowing his double certificate of char- 
acter in a greasy pocket the savage went off prouder 
than ever, no doubt fully convinced that he could now 
prove to the satisfaction of the most skeptical that 
he was indeed * ' Heap good Indian. ' ' 


Building Material.— Repairing the Churches. — New Organ. 
— Father Machebeuf Starts for France. — Incidents of Travel. — 
In France. — New Recruits. — Double Celebration at Sea. — Ar- 
rival at New York. — Interesting Relation by Father Ussel. — 
Returns to Albuquerque. — Grand Welcome.— Begins to Preach 
in English. — Converts. — Establishes Catechism Classes. — Goes 
Again to the States.— Tricks the Indians. — Return Party.— 
Mademoiselle Lamy and Companion.— Leaves Albuijucrque for 
Santa Fe. — Efforts to Retain Him in All)uqueri|ue. — Reception 
at Santa Fe. 

The ordinary material for building in New Mex- 
ico was adobe. This was the natural clay of the soil 
made into large bricks and dried in the sun. Walls 
built of this, if laid upon foundations of stone to raise 
them above the moisture of the earth, would last for 
ages. The old Missions were built of adobe, and 
their walls, from three to eight feet thick, still stand. 
The churches and chapels were built of the same 
material, and some of them were of veiy early date, 
but pro])pr care had not been taken of them, and at 
the time of the arrival of Hislioj) Lamy and Father 
Machebeuf many of thorn were sadly in need of re- 
pairs. The old clergy were too busy in providing 
for themselves to do much for the churches, and the 
first material care of the new ])riests was, of neces- 
sity, to rei>air the churches, decorate them and sup- 
ply them with new vestments, altar furniture, linens, 
etc., of which all of them were in need, for in those 
distant missions they had been but scantly provided 
with these things in the beginning. 

At All)uquer(|ue Father Machebeuf set about re- 


pairing and renovating his church, and when it was 
done the people were so pleased that they looked for 
the opportunity of doing more, and one of the prin- 
cipal members of the parish offered to provide an 
organ at his individual expense. The organ was an 
instrument almost unknown in New Mexico at that 
time, and were it not for a providential circumstance 
Father Machebeuf would have been obliged to re- 
fuse the gift, for there was no one in Albuquerque 
who could play upon it. It happened just then that 
the old organist whom Father Machebeuf had for 
two years in Sandusky was anxious to go to New 
Mexico to be with his old pastor, and had written 
letters to Father Machebeuf upon the advisability of 
the move. Father Machebeuf accepted the offer of 
the organ and wrote his old friend to come. Both 
his friend and the organ arrived at about the same 
time and were duly installed, and the music fairly 
enraptured the Mexicans, who, from time immem- 
orial, had been accustomed to hearing the mass sung 
to the accompaniment of a violin. On grand occa- 
sions another violin and a few guitars might be 
added, but only a few places could afford such mag- 
nificence. In many churches of the Mexican and Cen- 
tral American States the entire musical service is to- 
day rendered by an automatic music box. Albu- 
querque, with its new organ and professional organ- 
ist, was on the advance line of civilization and cult- 
ure. The chant was mostly in the Gregorian style, 
from ponderous tomes which may yet be seen, 
and which are still used in some places where the 


vocal musical ( ?) program is carried out by the older 
members of the parish. 

When Bishop Lainy was in France in lf^r)4, he 
tried liard to interest the students and young priests 
of Auvergne in his missions. We have seen that sev- 
eral came to New Mexico with him, but there were 
others who could not make up their minds at that 
time, or were not suthciently advan<'ed in their 
studies to offer themselves. Those who had come in 
the early part of Bishop Lamy's administration, and 
those who came with him in 1.S54, had written to their 
friends of the good work that was being done, and 
of the still greater work that remained to be done, 
and thus the missionary spirit was aroused and kept 
active. Bishop Lamy now judged that the time was 
again propitious for securing more help, and accord- 
ingly he sent Father Machebeuf on this missionary 
errand to France. 

Father Machebeuf left Santa Fe about the mid- 
dle of March 1856, with a few companions to see him 
safe across the plains, and his farther journey was 
to St. Louis, thence by boat to Louisville, Ky., and 
from there to Loretto, Oethsemane, ('incinnati, and 
to Fayetteville in Brown county, Ohio, where two of 
his former confreres were with the llrsuline Sisters 
whom he had brought from France in 1845. Only 
one i>ortion of tliis journey is rei^orted, but that part 
shows some of the incidental lia]>iH'nings in the life 
of the early missionary in the Far West. 

When we were four days mil Iroin K<nt Union on I he 
borders of New Mexico, the Iif,'ht vehicle in which we rode broke 
down. We had hnt one other small wairon for our ba>riri>i^« -'ind 


provisions, and for two days we were obliged to walk through 
the snow in order to overtake a caravan of Mexican and Ameri- 
can merchants who were going to the States to buy their stock 
of goods. They took pity on us and loaned us an enormous 
wagon drawn by ten mules. In this there were six passengers 
with their beds, baggage, provisions, and corn for twenty beasts. 
It was not a very fashionable nor a very agreeable mode of 
traveling, but we had our recompense in other ways. We saw 
thousands of buffaloes, deer, antelopes, etc., and they were the 
main supply of our table, which we set up in the snow and at 
which we ate standing, like the Israelites, with our staffs in our 
hands and our loins girt for our journey. 

After the long and tiresome days of such traveling we pas- 
sed no wakeful nights, but always slept well between two buffalo 
robes, even when we lay upon snow and an additional covering 
of six inches fell upon us during the night. The wolves were 
so plentiful and bold that they came into our camp every night, 
and they would carry off everything eatable that they could find. 
They even took parts of our harness. One of my companions 
saw them several times prowling about my bed, but I had for- 
gotten all about the world at that time and their presence did 
not worry me. 

The rest of the journey was made by the ordi- 
nary modes of travel, and he reached France strong 
in body and buoyant in spirits. It was eleven years 
since his last visit to his home, and this visit was con- 
soling both for himself and his relatives, but he lost 
no time in sentiment. From the time of his arrival, 
about the middle of May, until the first of August he 
worked for the object of his mission so well that he 
succeeded in getting six volunteers for New Mexico 
and a large assortment of articles necessary for the 

When the time drew near for them to start on 
their long sea voyage Father Machebeuf grew solici- 
tious, as was his custom, for the comfort of those who 
were to travel with him. He had secured passage 


for bis party, but be wisbed to make sure of com- 
fortable quarters for tbem, so be weut to Havre iu 
advance, and on July 30, be wrote: 

Not being able to form an exact idea of the places they 
had reserved for us, I left i'aris yesterday eveniii'i' for Havre 
where I arrived at five o'clock this morning. After waiting 
a little while so as to give time to the employes of the Bureau 
to get up and take breakfast, I went to inspect the vessel, the 
Alma, before speaking to any one. I took note of the cabins and 
thus was able to make very advantageous arrangements with the 

First, we shall have the same table as the Captain, with 
wine and all other privileges granted to the passengers who 
pay 550 francs, and we shall pay but 400. Then, we shall have 
very comfortable cabins, but less luxurious than some of the 
others. We are thirteen persons— the seven from ClermiMit. 
the Abbe Maurice who is returning to Bulfalo with his sister, 
and the Abbe Martin from Brest with three Sisters for the 
Diocese of Cleveland. 

I have always had the happiness of starting out on my 
journeys, or arriving at the end of them on some feast of the 
Blessed Virgin, or during an octave, or the month of May. 1 
ought not to be afraid when the Lord arranges such co-inci- 
dence.s. It is exactly on the feast of Our Lady of the Snows 
that our steamer will weigh anchor. 

Good Protestants and all sorts of iulidels will 
look upon tbis pious confidence of Fatber Macbel>euf 
as supei-stition, but would tliey take any notice of 
tbe fact tbat tbere were tbirteon in tbo ])nrty! Tbat 
did not seem to strike Father Maclicbeuf as anything 
objectionable, and all his long journeys were singu- 
larly fortunate, which, perhai)s, drew bis attention 
to tbe co-incidences. He did not forget, however, to 
ask for prayers for bis safe journey, and he tells his 
sister to ask her little pupils to remember him in 
their prayers, and he recalls to her mind an occasion 
which lU'ofoundly imi>ressed him when, he says, "I 


saw them all in their little chapel, dressed in white 
and singing hymns worthy of the angels, and I 
seemed to be no longer on this earth but beholding 
some celestial vision." 

They sailed under these happy auspices, and on 
the feast of the Assumption, which was the national 
feast of France also, they had a double celebration. 
Father Machebeuf gave an account of this celebra- 
tion and of their further journey, from which we 
take the following incidents, leaving it for another 
of the party to give a fuller account of the voyage, 
which to him was memorable as being his first, and 
among scenes that were entirely new. 

On the 15th of August they had a high mass at 
which Father Machebeuf preached a sermon in 
French. The cannon was fired at the Elevation and 
again at the close for the Te Deum. There were 
twelve communions at the mass, and a singular 
phenomenon was observed on the occasion. It was 
raining before the mass, but the sun came out and 
shone brightly during the whole time of the mass, 
and as soon as the mass was finished the sky suddenly 
darkened and they had barely time to dismantle the 
altar, which was set up on the deck, and carry the 
things to a place of safety before the rain fell again 
in torrents. A grand dinner was served to all the 
passengers by Captain Bocandy, and again the can- 
non boomed, while the intervals between the dis- 
charges were punctuated by the popping of cham- 
pagne corks and toasts to the Emperor, the Church 
and France. 


Tliey reached New York, August 21, and four 
days later started westward on tlieir land journey 
across the continent. They rested a few days at 
Sandusky and Cleveland while Father MachelHnif 
went to Cincinnati to visit Archbishop Purcoll who, 
he had heard, was sick. There he found his old 
fellow-missionary. Bishop de Goesbriand of Burling- 
ton, Vermont. His visit was concluded by a call u\)- 
on his friends in Brown county, to whom he brought 
the latest news from France. 

Returning to his party he resumed his .journey, 
and towards the end of it he wrote the last letter of 
his trip: "From Our Camp in a Dense Forest, 
Twelve Miles from the First Habitation of New 
Mexico, November 3, 1856." In this letter he tells 
Mr. Desjardins, the Superior of the Grand Seminary 
of Montf errand, that he is writing at eleven o'clock 
at night by the light of a blazing fire of pitch \Viuq 
logs, while his dear charges are soundly slee])ing up- 
on a soft mattress of snow. He says that they are in 
excellent health and seemingly stronger from their 
experience of the wild life of the desert. Only 
twice were they visited by Indians, and these they 
satisfied. by giving them a little tlour, biscuit and 
sugar. He hoped to make the remaining hundred 
miles to Santa Fe before the following Sunday. 

Of that journey under the guidance of such an 
experienced traveler and solicitous father as was 
Father Machebeuf the venerable Father Ussel, the 
present cherished pastor of Walsenburg, Colo., gives 
us his recollections m the following very interesting 


My first acquaintance with Father Machebeuf was in 1856, 
when I was a deacon in the Seminary of Montferrancl. Father 
Machebeuf came there from New Mexico to enlist the services 
of missionaries for the Diocese of Santa Fe. I was struck by 
the high consideration in which he was held by the venerable 
Bishop of Clermont, as also by the Sulpieian Fathers of the 
Grand Seminary and the clergy of Clermont in general. He 
was Father Machebeuf and the Vicar General of Bishop Lamy, 
and that was sufficient recommendation. 

Bishop Lamy had been over two years before and had taken 
the Fathers Egiiillion and Juillard, and the Messrs. Paulet, Guer- 
in and Yaure with him to America. Now he had sent Father 
Machebeuf for more help. In answer to Father Machebeuf 's 
api^eal in the Seminary of Montferi'and six seminarians offered 
themselves, namel}^: the deacons, J. M. Coudert and Gabriel 
Ussel, and the Messrs. Fialon, Fayet, Ralliere and Truehard. 

The day set for sailing found ns all ready and cheerful 
at Havre, but for the next few days we were a sick lot of 
clerics. We were over our sea-sickness and well enough to 
celebrate the feast of the Assumption, as Father Machebeuf 
has described it, and to enjoy the hospitality of Captain Bo- 
candy and finish a glorious day with the singing' of the Ave 
Maris Stella, which was intoned by the stentorian voice of Mr. 

At New York there was the usual delay at the custom- 
house, and, as our ignorance of English prevented us from giv- 
ing' any help to Father Machebeuf, we put in the time quietly 
resting: or seeing; the city from the street cars. 

From New York we went to Niag'ara and Father Mache- 
beuf gave us a drive out to the falls. We had read Chateau- 
briand's description of this eighth wonder of the world, but 
the sight of it was really overpowering and at the same time in- 

Our next stop was at Sandusky, which Avas the former home 
of Father Machebeuf, and the reception they gave him there 
will never leave my memory. Crowds came to see him, and a 
mere shake of the hand was not enough — they stayed to talk 
and listen, and their hearty, happy laugh showed how interested 
they were in his history of New Mexico, of the Indians, and of 
his life in the Far West. They pressed him to make a long 
stay Avith them, and in this they were joined by their pastor, 
Father Bot¥. but Father Machebeuf could not promise to stay 
longer than two days. That very night he must preach and 
give the Papal Benediction, and for two daj's it was like a high 


festival, with mass and communions, preaching and Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Te Deuni in which every one 
took part. It ^iwe us a hi<rher idea of our -rood Father, and a 
greater love for him. 

At St. Louis we went to the College of the Jesuits, and, as 
it was yet vacation, we had the I'un of the whole house and 
grounds for nearly three weeks, thanks to the generous hospi- 
tality of the good Fathers. There I had the pleasure of meet- 
ing that great Indian missionary. Father De Smet. In after 
years I learned that he had tried, but without success, on some 
of his mission trips in the vicinity of New Mexico to get into 
communication with Father Martinez of Taos, one of my pre- 
decessors in that parish. On Sundays I caught myself in a 
distraction wondering at the strange mixture of whites and 
blacks kneeling together before the same altar in harmony and 
without apinuent distinction. "You wonder at that." said 
Father Macliebeuf, "just wait until you see the Indians with 
Mexicans and Americans together in New Mexico." 

At St. Louis Father Machebeuf had the honor of being ap- 
pointed to lay the corner-stone of a new church in the then 
suburbs. It was actually in the woods, and our wagon came near 
heiuix upset as we drove out to it. When the ceremony was over 
we found dinner prepared for us at a farm-house close by. 

The reason for this long delay in St. Louis was that we 
were waiting for the wagons to come from Santa Fe to meet us 
at Kansas City. Father Machebeuf wrote to Bishop Lamy 
when we arrived in New York, and we were to receive word at 
St. Louis when all would ready for us. While here we were 
joined by another student. Mr. Thomas Hayes, who was then 
in minor orders. 

As soon as all was ready Father Machebeuf received his 
letters and we left St. Louis, going by railroad as inr as St. 
Charles where we took the boat on the Missouri rivai* for Kan- 
sas City. 

We stayed a few days at Kansas City, for we had more 
bairsage than the wailing wagons would carry, and Father 
Machelieuf had to buy more mules. Kansas City was a small 
place then, with no large buildings of any kind, and the only 
Catholic church there was a log building about 25x40. set in the 
midst of a thicket of oaks. 

Towards evening on October 4, we left Kansas City on our 
journey across the plains. A few miles out we camped for the 
night, and such a night as we spent. It was our fii-st experi- 
ence in camping out, and the beds, spread upon the gi-onnd, were 
hard and uncomfortable, and the coyotes howled the whole 


night. The next morning when we complained to Father 
Machebeuf he said: "You dreaded the monotony of the plains; 
these are a few of their many distractions. You ought to be 
glad to have a free band to serenade you. If you do not like the 
music, Mr. Truchard with his magnificent voice can intone the 
Ave Maris Stella, as he used to do for us on the ship." This 
Mr. Truchard then did and we all joined in the singing, and it 
was our regular hymn every evening during the trip, except 
when we were afraid of the Indians. 

We did not see things in as favorable light as Father Mache- 
beuf did, and when we relapsed again into a moody silence he 
said: ''Well, young men, what is the matter? Have you lost 
your voices? You do not seem to be enjoying your breakfast; 
perhaps the coffee does not agree with you? Well, let me work 
a miracle." and with that he went to the wagon and brought 
us in a vessel some good wine, and it brought our spirits back 
like a charm. 

After bi-eakfast Father Machebeuf decided to apportion out 
the little duties and services of the trip, and addressing us he 
said: "For order and good government we must elect officers. 
Honors first to the deacons, as is their right. Mr. Coudert is 
proposed for chief cook and superintendent of the provision 
wagon." To this we all agreed. "Elected," said Father Mache- 
beuf, "and now for fireman to gather wood, and other combus- 
tibles when wood is scarce Mr. Ussel has every vote, so he will 
be our man of wood, and for the double office of wagon boss, 
to pick out good camping places, etc., and as majordomo, to get 
you up in time in the morning, we will appoint our good, strong 
Mexican, Filomeno." Thus were the offices parceled out, and 
every selection was an excellent one. 

The next morning before daylight Filomeno roused us with 
the cry: "Up, Senor Ussel, and make the fire." "Seiior Cou- 
dert, hurry up with the breakfast." "Senor Fialon, tend to 
your carriage mules. ' ' It was a jolly party even if the circum- 
stances were somewhat adverse. 

Only the second day out Father Machebeuf said: "Why 
don't you speak Spanish with our men?" To our answer that 
we did not know how he replied: "Oh yes you do! and I shall 
prove it to you. Now, here are the conversation books ; I shall 
read the Credo very slowly while you follow me in Latin," 
Then he gave us some simple rules for the formation of words 
and we had mastei'ed the system in five minutes. After that 
we had no great difficulty in conversing with our Mexicans. 

When Sunday came Father Machebeuf said: "We will 


have mass this niorniiiir, and now while I prepare the altar you 
may i)repare yourselves for confession," and at ei^ht o'clock 
we had a coni;:re<,''ation of sixteen persons besides four non- 
Catholics who were travelin-j: with our party. We had mass 
every Sunday, and a few other days when the caravan did not 
start too early. We traveled at the rate of about twenty miles 
a day, and once in a while the caravan stopped for a day or two 
to rest and recruit the animals wlieie the irrass was irood. 

We got sight of g^eat herds of buffaloes, and for three 
weeks bullalo hunting was the sport of many of our caravan. 
Bishop Lamy had sent us a tine hunting horse and oui men kept 
us well supplied with fresh meat. During this time especially 
the coyotes besieged our camp at night, and the wolves came 
also, but they kept at a respectable distance, — they probably 
smelled the smoke of our powder. The weather was very 
favorable — there being but two little storms during the thirty 
six days of our trip. 

The Indians were peaceable, and only once was there any 
excitement, and that proved to be a false alarm. Shooting was 
heard, and the cry of "Indians!" was raised, but upon slowly 
advancing we met a troop of U. S. cavalry and found that the 
shooting was by a soldier who had mistaken one of their mules 
for a bear. 

Just before coming to the crossing of the Arkansas river a 
party of Indians came upon us. They were friendly— in fact, 
too friendly, for they annoyed us by their incessant begging 
for money, bread, sugar, etc., and they admired our fine animals 
in a ver\' suspicious manner. In order to get rid of them we 
pushed forward until ten o'clock at night, and very early the 
next morning we forded the Arkansas river and kept on until 
two o'clock in the afternoon before stojiping. Then we halted 
for dinner, and a good dinner we had, for Father Machebeuf 
had provided many delicacies, such as pickles, presented fruits, 
etc., and we had fresh meat, dried meat, salt meat, vegetables, 
bread, butter, coffee, etc., and Mr. Coudert proved himself an 
expert cook. We had also a real table and camp chairs, and all 
necessary table furniture. Father Machebeuf said grace, a cus- 
tom he never omitted, and we all sat down. Just then four or 
five of our Indian friends of the day before rode up, and follow- 
ing them in stragtrling bands came as many as fifty in all, men, 
women and children, on horseback. 

The Chief introduced himself as Captain Napa, and imme- 
diately bent over the table and helped himself to several spoon- 
fuls of suffar. We had not recovered from our astonishment 


at his assurance when Father Machebeuf offered him a pickle. 
While eating it he made a grimace which set us all laughing, but 
he, without further delay, asked for another, which he gave to 
his squaw, who just then came up, and then he had a great 
laugh at her. 

In the course of the conversation he told Father Machebeuf 
that he had six wives, but only one of them was the real wife, 
and her son was heir to his dignity as chief. The others were 
but second-class wives, and his greatest desire now was to find 
another one. 

During the dinner the teamsters discovered that there was 
a captive Mexican boy among the Indians. He had been taken 
from some village in the southern part of New Mexico which he 
named, but he could not remember the name of his parents. 
Father Machebeuf wanted to redeem him and restore him to 
his family, and, after some bargaining, the Chief said that he 
would trade the boy for a mule and a hundred pounds of sugar. 
Then the Chief went to speak to the boy, and when he returned 
he demanded his sack of sugar and two mules. Father Mache- 
beuf then judged that the boy was too much interested in the 
trade, and that probably he would run away the next night and 
go back to claim his mules and a share in the sugar, so he 
dropped the matter. That night we traveled all night to get 
away from the Indians and save our mules, for Father Mache- 
beuf did not like the way they admired them. At our next 
safe stopping place Father Machebeuf told us of many cases of 
captive Mexicans among the Indians, and then he suddenly said : 
"And that boy wanted my best mules. Now let me tell you a 
little story about that span of bay mules. 

' ' Some four years ago, when I had so much traveling to do 
all over New Mexico, it happened that my saddle horse gave out 
near Albuquerque. There was the ranch of a rich Mexican close 
by, and I went there to try to borrow a horse to take me to 
Santa Fe. I was not acquainted with the proprietor of the 
place, but I introduced myself and made known my wants. 
'Certainly,' said the owner, 'but do you prefer a horse to a 
mule?' In a few moments both horse and mule were brought 
out, and I was told to take my choice. 'No,' said I, 'you know 
more about them than I do and can make a better choice.' 
'Very well,' said he, 'that bay mule is a good traveler, gentle 
under the saddle and in the harness — in fact, he is my favorite 
animal. ' ' And how long may I keep him ? ' I inquired, ' a week, 
a month or a year?' 'Oho!' answered the man, 'I think I see 
your point, Senor Vicario. Just wait a minute. ' And with that 


he sent a peon for another mule, which was a perfect match for 
the fii-st. 'Now,' said he, 'there are two mules; do you think 
you need them both?',' Surely,' said I, 'Bishop Lamy needs a 
mule as badly as I do; but how Ion? may we keep them?' 'I 
leave that to j-ou, Senor Vieario. ' he answered, 'and I shall not 
object to your time.' 'Then,' said I, 'we need them for sixteen 
years!* 'All right, Seiior Vieario, you have said it,' he re- 
turned; 'you may take the mules, and I am happy to be able 
to do you this little service.' 

" 'And now,' added he, 'in return would you do me a very 
great favor? Have the goodtiess to stay with us all night, or 
my old wife will declare a regular war with me, so please do 
stay.' 'I shall do so with great pleasure,' I answered, 'and 
say mass in the morning, but the Seiior Vieario has the invaria- 
ble custom of requiring all in the house where he stops to go to 
confession and communion. Now, do you see that point also?' 
'Yes, Seiior Vieario,' he replied, 'and I shall be at the head of 
the procession.' And he was as good as his word. 

"Now, my young friends," said Father Machebeuf, "we 
will hitch up, and I ^v^sh you as good luck in getting your mules, 
and at the same price. And that little rascal wanted my span 
of bay mules! No, never!" 

On November 1, All Saints' Day, we had our last mass in 
the wilderness. On that day Father Munnecom came to meet 
us and pay his respects to the Seiior Vieario, and in the evening 
we reached Fort Union. It did not eoiTCspond to our idea of a 
fort, and while Father Machebeuf was telling lis of the hospi- 
tality we would find there, and how we should conduct ourselves, 
we continually interrupted him by our objections to the name 
"Fort," as applied to such a collection of shanties and adobe 
walls. "Oh," said he, "you know nothing about it! You are 
always the same, and you must remember that you are no longer 
in France. Call it what you like, but it is a government mili- 
tary post. Over there are the officers' quarters, and we shall 
go there first. There are some good Mexicans living near here, 
and I shall send them word that there will be mass tomorrow 
morning in the Post Chapel. The Chaplain is a Protestant, but 
he will not object to our using the chapel." At this we again 
objected, but he answered, "Will you keep still? You think 
you know it all! Just wait until we get through, and then you 
may talk. You will find that there are some Catholics among 
the soldiers." And mass we had, and a good congregation, and 
we were obliged to admit that there was some Catholicity out- 
side of France. 


The next day we met our old friend and college-mate, 
Father Guerin, who had come to New Mexico two years before. 
We were nearly wild with delight, and Father Maehebeuf left 
us to ourselves while he visited old friends along the way. How 
strange everything seemed to us ! the queer villages, the adobe 
houses, the adobe churches, the Mexican dress, the Mexican 
customs, and all the rest ! How natural it all seems now. 

Three or four miles out from Santa Fe we were met by 
Bishop Lamy and various committees, military officers, crowds 
of people and the Sistei-s with their pupils. It was a very 
affecting meeting of the father with his children. Father 
Maehebeuf presented each of us to the Bishop, who gave us his 
blessing, and a hearty shake of the hand as a token of welcome. 
Our first visit at Santa Fe was to Our Lord in the Cathedral, to 
thank Him for our safe arrival at our journey's end. It was 
the 10th of November, 1856. 

On the 12th of December following we were all ordained in 
the Chapel of the Sisters of Loretto at Santa Fe, and then came 
our assignment to our different missions. 

Upon his return to New Mexico Father Maehe- 
beuf went again to Albuquerque to resume his labors. 
His arrival there was the signal for another display 
of loyalty on the part of his parishioners. The Pre- 
fect and all the civil officers, with an escort of sixty 
mounted men, met him six miles outside of the town, 
and the road was lined with people to welcome him. 
Cries of ' ' Viva El Senor Vicario ! " " Como le va, 
Padrecito?" ''Gracias a Dios!" greeted him at 
every step, and his arm was sore from shaking hands. 
.It was with difficulty that he could enter his house, 
where he found his friend Father Paulet with re- 
freshments provided for the inner man, and toasts 
were exchanged between pastor and people, and 
France was not forgotten for the noble sons whom 
she had sent to uplift an unfortunate but good 
hearted and willing people. 


Almost the entire body of Catholics in New Mex- 
ico was of the native population, and the sorvioes of 
the Church had been conducted especially for them. 
Among those attending Father Machebeuf 's church 
there were some Americans, both from the fort and 
from the town. Most of these were Catholics and 
familiar with the service, but some were not Catho- 
lics, and Father Machebeuf thought to make it more 
interesting and profitable for all the Americans by 
adding a short sermon in English for their especial 
benefit. The result was a larger and a more con- 
stant attendance of Americans, and ere long he had a 
class of converts under instruction. He baptized 
an officer from the fort, a number of soldiers and 
several civilians as the fruit of these instructions. 
Tlie Mexicans were surprised and pleased to see the 
Americans, and especially the soldiers, at mass and 
communion, for they have been taught to believe 
that all the Americans were heathens and deadly 
enemies of the Catholic religion. This serv^ed to 
soften their racial and national prejudices, and 
helped on the work of reconciling them to the new 
order of things in the affairs of government. 

While giving this particular attention to the 
Americans Father Machebeuf did not neglect his 
Mexic^nns. On the contrary he entered more zeal- 
ously into the work for their good and visited them 
more frequently. His parish was about sixty miles 
in extent and had twelve churches and chai>els. and 
each of these, he or his assistant. Father Coudert 
managed to visit almost each week. This was the 


case when lie was preparing the younger ones for 
their first communion. 

The preparation for first communion gave him 
the occasion long desired of establishing catechism 
classes for the children, and he tells us that he had 
hard work to make the Mexicans understand the 
necessity for such classes. He gained his end by 
firmness, and, as the Mexicans were naturally sub- 
missive, they gradually sent their children for in- 
struction. It may seem incredible, but Father 
Machebeuf assures us that catechism classes were al- 
most entirely unknown in New Mexico before that 
time. Once established however, these classes be- 
came very successful, and the parents themselves 
came with the children to receive the benefit of the 
instructions, and they had as much need of it. 

By these classes Father Machebeuf partially 
supplied the want of religious education among the 
people, but it was his great desire to see a Catholic 
school in every large parish conducted by religious 
men and women, and in 1857 he was already hoping 
that the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Mary might 
be induced to come from France to take up their 
portion of this work. He made some attempt to- 
ward securing them at that time but nothing ever 
came from his efforts in that direction. 

In 1857 the affairs of the diocese rendered 
another trip to the States necessary, and Father 
Machebeuf was chosen to make it. He did not ob- 
ject to the trip for he was always ready to do the 
business of the diocese, and, besides, he hoped to meet 


some missionaries who had promised to follow him 
when he was in France the year previous, but who 
could not arrange their affairs so as to accompany 
him at that time. In this he was disappointed, for 
they did not come. 

His journey across the plains was peaceful, but 
there were a few incidents in it sufficiently amusing 
to bear recounting. He says: 

I left Santa Fe, July 15, in a li-ht wa-on with a single 
Mexican as a companion. We traveled in company with the 
mail carrier, but as he had only two passenprs and one of them 
was sick most of the time, we would have been but four in case 
of an attack by the Indians. Then, being- a man of P^ace, 1 
could fisht only with my tongue. I might have spoken to them 
in English, French, Spanish, Latin or several kinds ot patois, 
but, thank God, we were not put to such a test. 

One dav, about midway of our jouniey along the Arkansas 
river, a lone Indian met us. He told us that the road was good 
and that his whole tribe were encamped a little farther do^^^l m 
that direction and would be glad to see us. There happened to 
be another road just there leading over the bluffs, and his news 
was the best reason we could find for taking it. We ran the 
risk of ooino- without water unless we could find it in pools from 
previous rains, but we did not suffer much, and we escaped the 
Indians and found a shorter road. 

A few days later twelve or fifteen Indians, well aimed, 
came to our camp where we had halted for dinner We were 
sittin..' on the ar..und partaking of our little repast when they 
came^lind unceremoniously invited themselves to share our ham 
and biscuits. As one of them knew me. they honored my table 
with their first call. I gave them a piece of salty meat and 
this they did not want to eat. Then one of them noticed a little 
gi-ev powder in a bottle and he wanted some of that, i ffave 
him' a spoonful of it, and he gave us a free exhibition of facial 
contortion which was interesting and ainusing. The powder 
was pepper! Another one spied a bottle half full of what he 
thouo-ht was whiskey, and he wanted a taste. I gave him a big 
spoonful, which he ;;wallowed, but he threw the spoon away and 
be-an to coutrh- He said that such whiskey was good only tor 
thedo-s. He had tasted of my vinegar! Finally I gave them 
some coffee, su-ar and biscuit to satisfy them. They then went 


to the mail carrier to enjoy his hospitality, but that individual 
was in a great huiTy about that time and could not wait to en- 
■ tertain them. 

These Indians are not of such bad composition after all. 
If they were as bad as they are strong it would be impossible to 
cross these plains without an escort of soldiers. They are gen- 
erally lazy, and thieves by necessity, but they do not attack 
travelers except to avenge the death of some of their tribe, or 
to defend themselves. By some special protection of Providence 
I have never felt that I was in any danger from them. 

Father Machebeuf must have had great confi- 
dence in the Indians when he ventured to play such 
tricks upon them, and it is hardly probable that he 
would have done so a few years later, when they 
were committing depredations which made him 
change his opinion of their gentle character. 

In September Father Machebeuf was ready to 
return. His party now numbered ten, but he would 
not risk the trip across the plains this time unless 
with one of the large caravans which were starting 
out from Kansas City every few days. It was not 
that he had any fears for himself, but he had with 
him, besides three Mexican drivers for his wagons, 
three Frenchmen who were going to Santa Fe, a 
young Irish student, Mr. Welby, and two young 
girls. Of these last he says : 

One is the niece of Bishop Lamy, who has spent six years 
with the Ursulines of New Orleans, She is a young girl of 
fifteen years of age, as innocent as an angel, and she will prob- 
ably enter the convent at Santa Fe as a postulant. The other 
is a niece of one of our excellent missionaries from Besancon. 
She is of the same age as Mademoiselle Lamy, and will also 
enter the convent. 

The subsequent history of these two young girls 
did not entirely verify Father Machebeuf 's pre- 


diction. Mademoiselle Lamy entered the convent 
at Santa Fe, rose to be the superior of that insti- 
tution, and, at present writing, is the worthy Mother 
Vicaress General of the Order of the Sisters of 
Loretto, with residence at Loretto, Ky. The other 
chose a life in the world, made an unhappy marriage, 
was divorced and lost from view. 

Upon his return to New Mexico Father Mache- 
beuf went again to his dear Albuquerque, but his stay 
there was not to be very long, although neither he 
nor his people knew of this at the time. The dis- 
tance from Santa Fe to Albuquerque was about 70 
miles, and this distance Father Machebeuf was 
obliged to travel twice every time that business 
called him to Santa Fe. Bishop Lamy consulted 
him upon all important matters, and frequently it 
was necessary for them to meet in personal confer- 
ence. The old troubles at Albuquerque had passed 
away leaving no shadows behind, so Bishop Lamy 
resolved to call Father Machebeuf to Santa Fe where 
as Vicar General he naturally belonged. He would 
then be near him for consultation, and in the proper 
place for administrating the affairs of the diocese 
when he himself would be absent. There were also 
some other weighty matters which could be attended 
to only by the Bishop or his Vicar General, as we 
shall soon see, and Bishop Lamy wished to have 
Father Machebeuf where he would have more time 
to give to these important affairs. 

There was a great deal of solemnity as well as 
opposition to this transfer, which shows the esteem 


in wliicli Father Macliebeuf was held both by his 
Bishop and by his people. The following account 
of it was written by Father Machebeuf himself to 
his brother Marius in France. 

Santa Fe, July 16, 1858. 
My Dear Brother: 

I have to announce to you that I am no longer pastor of 
Albuquerque. Bishop Lamy must go to St. Louis this year to 
attend the Pro\dncial Council which will be held in September, 
and he is obliged to absent himself, sometimes for several 
months at a time, from Santa Fe while making his pastoral vis- 
its of the diocese. On such, and many other occasions, I was 
obliged to go to Santa Fe for the affairs of the diocese, and now, 
to put an end to these trips and avoid loss of time, he has de- 
cided that I should take up my residence altogether at Santa 
Fe. Behold me, then, pastor of the Cathedral (of mud) of the 
Capital of New Mexico. Father Lebrun, whom I knew in New 
York in 1843, has been transferred from the pastorship of the 
Cathedral to that of the church in Albuquerque. 

Although I have many advantages here which I could not 
hope for at Albuquerque, it was with pain that I left there. I 
was the more attached to the place as I had greater opposition 
to contend with there in the beginning. Happily, that has all 
passed away, and when the news of my approaching departure 
from Albuquerque was sjDread abroad, there took place a few 
things which I consider rather striking co-incidences, and I 
mention them to you to show you how we stand among the 

You know that certain ones tried to make us out selfish, 
and having no interest in the jDeople. It was even said in open 
court by the opposing lawyer, in my suit for the recoveiy of the 
presbytery at Albuquerque, that the French priests were so poor 
at home that they were obliged to eat frogs, and that they had 
come to New INIexico to live on the fat of the land. My lawyer 
answered that they may have eaten frog's in France, but the fat 
of the land was coming to them in New Mexico in the shape of 
**el bendito frijol y el santo atole!" (the blessed bean and holy 
porridge!) AYe have something better than the fat of the land, 
for we have the sincei'e affection of these poor people who were 
never before treated as if thy belonged to God. 

The very man Avho, in 1852, was chosen as leader of the mob 
to drive me out of Albuquerque, was now chosen to preside at 

M ARILS MAt'llKliEL r, 


a monster meetiiii-, which was held as soon as they heard of my 
proposed chani^erand the secretaiT who drew up the old notice 
to quit, now oot up a petition, si-ned by 2,000 pei-sons, and ad- 
dressed to the Bishop askino' him to leave me at Albuquerque. 
From the meetino- they went to my house, nch and poor, men, 
women and children, and the house was filled and the yard out- 
side. I was in the church at the time, but a boy came to tell 
me, and when I went to the house I could not get to my room 
for the crowd. It was Saturday, and they learned that I was to 
leave on Monday. Then one of the leaders, acting as spokes- 
man, began by saving that in 1852 he had ordered me to leave 
Albuquerque, "but now he had another command to give me, 
and that was for me not to dare to leave the place until they had 
the time to send a messenger with their petition to the Bishop. 

I replied, smiling, that I knew the roads and paths too well 
not to be able to find a way of escape. Then the women said 
that they would put guards on all the roads and paths to watch 
me and give the alarm if I attempted to go. I finally gave them 
three days, but I knew it would be useless, for I had sent two 
letters and a messenger to the Bishop for the same purpose my- 
self, but without effe^ct. Neither my request, nor the petition of 
the people, could make the Bishop change his plans. 

When the people found that I must go they gathered to see 
me off, and about fifty of them accompanied me several miles on 
the way. We finallv separated with many a handshake, washing 
one another prosperity and happiness, and I must say that my 
heart was pretty full. 

I tell you these things to show you that we can make 
friends anvwhere, and that the people know how to appreciate 
devotedness and sincere friendship wherever they find them. 
But I must tell you of my reception at Santa Fe. 

The Bishop, knowing that I was to arrive on the follo\ving 
Friday, wrote me to wait about six miles from Santa Fe until 
the airival of an escort which w\as coming to meet me. At that 
point clouds of dust on the road showed me that they were not 
far away. Soon thev came up, and I saw the Prefect and the 
principal men of the "town, the priests of Santa Fe and the near 
missions, the four seminarians and many others in carriages 
and on horseback. Turning, they faced toward Santa fe. and 
we all moved forward, and, as we entered the tovm, the tour 
bells of the Cathedral began to ring. Thus I made my solemn 
entry into Santa Fe, as proud as Napoleon III could have been 
on the Boulevard de Sebastopol. At the residence of the Bishop 
his Lordship was waiting for me with a wanii welcome and a 


bountiful collation, both of which formed a combination which 
cheered me up and put me in good spirits. 

You see that in New Mexico they do things in grand style, 
and if I mention these details, it is to show you that God does 
not forget us even in this world for the little we do for Him. 
If you only knew the gi'eat consolations that the Good Master 
gives us for the little sacrifices made for His glory, it would be 
an additional motive for you to serve Him with greater gener- 
osity and confidence. 

Less than five years before Father Machebeuf 
wrote: ''What pleasure I would have in seeing my 
Rancheros coming back — these same men who came 
to my room to insult and threaten me." A great 
change had taken place in those five years. Then 
the Cross was uppermost, now the Crown was prom- 
inent and the cross seemed small in the distance. ' ' A 
lying witness shall perish : an obedient man shall 
speak of victory." The false priest was gone and 
practically forgotten, while the priest true to his 
calling under God was speaking of victory. His 
Rancheros had come back, and the longed-for pleas- 
ure was his. He can now write of ' ' little sacrifices ' ' 
and ''great consolations." 


Threefold Work.— Father Martinez.— Father Taladrid. 
Schism at Taos.— Kit Carson, Beaubien and St. Vrain.- Excom- 
munication of Fathers Martinez and Lucero.— Fathers Mache- 
beuf and Ussel Go on a Mission.— Rio Colorado.— Costilla. 
Conejos.-Don Jesus Velasquez.-Lafayette Head.— Adios and 
Gifts. — Mutual Pleasures. — Fort Massachusetts. — Culebra. 
Father Avel.-His Sad Death.— Unjust Suspicions Against 
Father Munnecom.-His Character Cleared.— The Mails.-More 
Territory and More Work. 

At Santa Fe the work of Father Machebeuf was 
of threefold character. As pastor of the parish he 
had the responsibility of some 5000 souls. In his 
pastoral work, however, he had the help of two zeal- 
ous assistants in the persons of Fathers Truchard 
and Coudert whom he had brought to New Mexico 
two years before. He had also the administration 
of the diocese in the numerous absences of Bishop 
Lamy, and he had missionary work to do as only 
Father ^facliebeuf knew how to do it. He felt the 
''solicitude of all the churches," and he feared not 
the perils in the wildeniess, the perils from false 
brethren, the hunger and thirst, the cold and naked- 
ness. Never since the days of St. Paul was this 
more fitly illustrated in all its particulars than in his 
first mission after his removal to Santa Fe. 

One of the most important parishes in New 
Mexico, outside of Santa Fe, was that of Taos. Its 
pastor, from 1826, was Father Martinez. In his 
younger days Antonio Jose Martinez was married 
and had one child, a girl, but death early robbed him 


of both liis wife and daugbter. He then began his 
preparation for the priesthood in a seminary in 
Mexico, and made very brilliant studies. After his 
ordination he entered the Concursus for the parish 
of Taos, recently vacated by the Franciscans, and 
received the appointment. He was a man of great 
learning, and he was not long at Taos before his zeal 
led him to open a school in which he himself was the 
principal instructor. He also established a printing 
office, the first in New Mexico, in which Tie printed 
his own school-books, catechisms, and some few 
books of church ritual and service. For a short 
time also, he published a small newspaper, El Crep- 
usculo — The Dawn — the first newspaper ever pub- 
lished in New Mexico. His own house was used for 
this quasi-college, and many of the priests of New 
Mexico during those early times made their studies 
under him. 

It was said that he had much to do with the up- 
rising of the Indians and Mexicans at Taos, when 
Governor Bent and about fifteen Americans and 
their Mexican sympathizers were massacred on Jan. 
19, 1847. He at least shared with the Indians and 
Mexicans in hatred for the Americans, and, in their 
ignorance of events and conditions outside of their 
little valley, they imagined that they were but begin- 
ning a patriotic war which would result in freeing 
their country from the foreigner, who was supposed 
to be an enemy to their race and to their religion. 
The suspicion is probably well founded, although 
the U. S. Government did not find Father Martinez 


guilty of direct complicity in the unfortunate insur- 

In^l856 Fath fix^Iartiaez Qjffered his resignation 
Qf the parish of Taos to Bishop Lamy, giving as his 
reasons old age and infii'mity. Bishop Lamy ac- 
cepted the resignation of the old pastor and ap- 
pointed to the place Father Damaso Taladrid whom 
he brought from Europe in 1854. 

Father Taladrid was a Spaniard, and, unfortu- 
nately, he entertained the idea that, as such, he was 
upon a somewhat higher plane than his Mexican 
brethren. It was not long before friction developed 
between him and Father Martinez, and the pride of 
both would not admit of any mutual concessions. 
AfteiJiis-xesignation, and. retirement Father _Max.- 
tijjez said mass, and occasionally officiated solenmly 
at the parish church, and the difficulty arose over the. 
marriage ceremony between some of tlu' relatives of 
Father Martinez. Tiistrad of referring tluir differ- 
ences to the Bishop for settlement they si)read their 
troubles among their friends, finally coming to an 
open rupture, and Fnthf^r Ar.nrtinez set up an inde- 
pendent churc h. Bishop Lamy, hearing of this, 
went twice to Taos to confer with the two priests, 
but Father Martinez had fallen into the hands of bad 
advisers and refused to submit. No alternative was 
left to Bishop Lamy, after all sorts of fatherly ad- 
vice and admonitions had been unheeded, b ut to sus- 
pen d F atb^r^Ma rtinez from the exer cise of every 
priestly fjonction. 

^This did"not end the trouble, for Father Mar- 


tinez continued in his rebellion, anr] was followed 
into scMsHLby a large number of those-wliQJmd-al- 
ways known and respected him, and who could not 
now imagine that he could be in the wrong. Besides, 
his relatives were powerful in Taos and had the 
pride of wealth and position, which would 
neither them nor him to accept what they considered 
a humiliation. 

In addition to this case, there was a Mexica n 
priest, Mariano de Jesus Lucero, at Arroyo Hondo, 
twelve miles north of Taos, whom Bishop Lamy was 
obliged to suspend for irregularities and schismati- 
cal tendencies, andjwho was a former pupil and great 
friend of Father Martinez. These two now joined 
their forces and continued their opposition to Bishop 
Lamy, until he was obliged to go to the extreme in 
punishment and to pronounce upon them the sen- 
tence of excommunication. 

Here is where Father Machebeuf enters upon 
the scene, and to him was given the disagreeable 
task of pronouncing the sentence upon the rebellious 
priests, in the very pulpits where they had so often 
preached the doctrines of that Church from which 
they were now to be cut off, and before the same 
people whom they had taught to obey its laws. 

Many of these simple people knew nothing of 
the discipline of the Church, and they looked upon 
this as a persecution against their old pastor. They 
were willing to stand by him even in opposition to 
the Bishop, and the relatives of the priests and their 
more influential friends were cunning enough to take 


advantage of their ignorance and friendship in order 
to arouse still more this spirit of opposition, and to 
intimidate the Bishop if possible. The old idea of a 
foreign tyranny was also injected into the contro- 
versy, and when it became known that Father 
Macliebeuf was coming to publish the sentence of ex- 
communication threats of personal violence were 
openly made. 

There were living in the Taos valley at this time 
Kit Carson, Charles Beaubien, Ceran St. Vrain, and 
other prominent Catholics, both American and Mex- 
ican, who were friends of Bishop Lamy and Father 
Machebeuf. These men got together with their 
friends and gave warning to the opposite party that 
no repetition of Jan. 19, 1847, was to be permitted, 
and if any indignities were offered to the Senor 
Vicario there would be war from that moment, and 
it would be war to the death, Bo aubie n had lost a 
son in the niassncre of 1847, a nd he had no lo ve for 
Martinez, who, ho saitl, " has. alw^y^s been treacher- 
ous, and is now aftlick'd with the bighead. Let him 
look out!" And these men were making no idle dis- 
play of bravery; they were in earnest and the others 
knew it. 

For three Sund ays the admonitions^ ere pub- 
lished in the two parisli clinrch es, and the calls were 
made for the subiiiissiou and repentence of the two 
priests, but there was no losponse. On the ai»i)oint- 
ed Sunday the big church at Taos was packed with 
people and crowds were standing outside unable to 
get in, and the friends of Martinez were well repre- 


sented. Father Machebeuf sang the high mass, and 
in his sermon he explained the nature and effects of 
the excommunication, and then pronounced the 
terrible sentence upon Martinez amidst the most in- 
tense silence, and closed the scene by calmly an- 
nouncing that he would remain in the parish for 
some days to assist the pastor in hearing confessions. 
The people then quietly dispersed, scarcely daring 
to speak above a whisper, and not a sign of any 
hostile movement was made by the friends of the ex- 
communicated priest. 

Let it be said here that Ca rson , Beaubien and 
St. Vrain were thoroughly prepared and had their 
men advantageously posted to watch every move- 
ment of the enemy, and any attempt at creating a 
disturbance would have been vigorously met. "We 
shall not let them do as they did in 1847," said Kit 
Carson, ''when they murdered and pillaged. I am 
a man of peace, and my motto is : Good will to all ; 
I hate disturbances among the people, but I can fight 
a little yet, and I know of no better cause to fight for 
than my family, my Church, and my friend the 
Senor Vicario." 

Later in the day when Father Machebeuf was 
at the house of Mr. Beaubien, Carson and the others 
were speaking in high terms of his courage, but he 
simply remarked : ''Wliy should I be afraid? I did 
but do my duty ! ' ' 

The following Saturday Father Machebeuf set 
out for Arroyo Hondo in company with the pastor 
of that parish, the Rev. Gabriel Ussel. His friends 


at Taos wished to furnisli him with an escort, but he 
thanked them, saying that there was no need of it as 
he did not feel that tliere was any danger. 

The next Sunday the same solemn and sad scene 
was enacted at Arroyo Hondo in the case of Lucero, 
and the same absence of all disturbance marked the 
occasion. The f riends of t he rebellious priests kept 
up the op position andjh e oi.iMoition .■ImrrU until 
offov fhft H^ath of Martine z, who died and was 
>. iv,-ipH hv T.uc^ro in schism . A mission given by the. 1 
Jesuits, in 1869, brought . back, the Martinez family, r^\ 
and the return of the others_was easy. JJ 

When the disagreeable part of his mission was 
concluded Father Machebeuf was heartily glad, and 
thanked God that it was over. *'It it always the 
way," he remarked to Father Ussel, -Bishop Lamy 
is sure to send me when there is a bad case to be 
settled; I am always the one to whip the cats." 
(fouetter les chats). 

The same evening he said to Father Ussel: 
''We will rest to-morrow, as I need time to write to 
Bishop Lamy a full account of this unfortunate 
business, and then I will stay with you a while and 
go with you on some of your missions. I have seen 
all the others who crossed the plains in our little 
band, and now that I am with you I want to visit 
with you a few days. I need a change of work and 
fresh air, so we will make a trip through your mis- 
sions and go as far as the Conejos. We can arrange 
so as to be at the larger settlements for Sundays 
and visit the smaller ones during the week. I would 


not be surprised if we were to have five or six hun- 
dred communions during the trip. ' ' 

In his letters to his friends Father Macheheuf 
spoke of his journeys to and from the States, but of 
his missionary trips he said but little in recent 
years. They seemed to have lost their special in- 
terest by their frequency, and he merely referred to 
them as his "little trips." It would be almost an 
endless task to follow him in all of them, but we 
shall take this trip as a sample of all in its general 
outlines, and allow Father Ussel to tell the story of 
it. It will show the details of missionary work in 
New Mexico, and be the more interesting as it 
touches some of the early history of the diocese over 
which Father Machebeuf was called to preside, and 
will form a connecting link between his work in New 
Mexico and some of his later work as Bishop of Den- 
ver. The following is Father Ussel 's recital. 

The immediate preparations for our trip were very simple. 
They consisted in packing the necessary things for the altar 
and mass in a valise— then another valise for Father Mache- 
beuf with a change of linen, and a few prayerbooks, catechisms, 
beads, etc., and our roll of blankets. These, with a scanty sup- 
ply of provisions in case of need, were loaded upon a pack-mule 
and given in charge to a boy who rode another mule. We kept 
our saddle-bags and overcoats with us, and we each had an extra 
mule as a mount when our horses were tired. In those days 
there were few vehicles of any kind in that part of the country, 
for there were scarcely any roads, and besides, the only hope of 
escape if attacked by Indians was in a good saddle horse. 

The first day we had but a short journey to make to reach 
Rio Colorado, which was only fifteen miles north of Arroyo 
Hondo. This settlement was about fifteen years old, and con- 
sisted of about a hundred families Only the walls of the 
church were up yet, for church building was slow among the 
poor Mexicans, It was the custom for each family to give one 


day, or its value in money, every week to the building of the 
chm-ch-either in making the adobes, laying them up, or |etUn| 
timbers for the roof, or helping in some way The ^o^fs of those 
early churches were flat, or nearly so, and covered with clay 

'^'XeV^^'tre had received word that the Senor Vicario 
was coming and they were ready to receive us. They had pre- 
pared for us the largest room in the largest house, and this we 
used for a chapel, and we had over a hundred communions as a 
rp<;nlt of our dav's work here. _, ^^ . 

TMrty miles to the north was Costilla Three attempts 
had been made to settle the Costilla valley, but each time the 
settlers were obliged to abandon their houses -"^^ field and fke 
before the murdering hordes of savages. It was only eight yea.s 
before that a pei-manent settlement was made, and now there 
were four small villages and a few scattering ranches. Some of 
the better houses were built of adobe, others ^^r^ ^f /°f ' ^u^ 
the greater number were jaca?.— houses made by setting posts 
close to^^ether upright in the ground and filling the crevices with 
mud There wfs no church at Costilla, and Father Machebeuf, 
after praising them for their courage and enterpnse in redeem- 
in^ sifch a fertile valley from the Indians whose fierceness he 
kn^ew, told them that they must now go to work and bu d a 
church. It should be no chapel, but a large church with a house 
for the priest, and when the Bishop would come the next year 
he would find evervtliing ready for a resident pastor. 

It required two busy days here, for there were two hundred 
and fifty communions, and then the confessions of the smaller 
children had to be put off until the pastor could pay them an- 
other visit. 

The good-byes were said and we set out for our nex ob- 
iective point, which was the Conejos. The day was beautiful, 
}hP roads were good along the Costilla river, and not bad over 
le bluffs to the crossing of the Rio del Norte There we stop- 
ped to rest our animals and eat a bite of lunch given us by the 
ffood people of Costilla. Upon remounting we took out our 
Seviaries^ and Father Machebeuf said: - Always say your 
breviary as soon as convenient, and then you will have time for 
whatever comes afterwards. Y,.u are not always sure of a can- 
dle at the house where you may stop." 

Soon heavy clouds came up and brought a cold rain with 
sleet "This morning," said Father Machebeuf, we had 
God's weather, but now the other fellow is giving "« ^^^ turn at 
U We must suffer a little bit, and I take this as a sign that the 


old boy is angry with us on accovint of the success which is 
awaiting us in our work at Conejos. ' ' 

Trot, trot, trot, for hours — and were we not cold and wet? 
And the road seemed so long! It was dark when we reached 
the Conejos river^ and nine o'clock before we could find a ford, 
and then we were obliged to strip our animals and carry the 
baggage over ourselves before we could make them enter the 
deep cold stream. 

If I had an enemy — which God forbid! — I would wish him 
no greater evil than that he might have an experience similar 
to ours— and then only on condition that he would not swear! 

A little farther and we reached a welcome hamlet called 
Los Cerritos, and there we roused the inhabitants of the fii-st 
well appeai'ing house, who, luckily, were able to accommodate 
us, and soon we were warming and drying ourselves before a 
glowing piiion fire. They gave us as good a supper as they 
could prepare upon such short notice, but the beds were soft and 
clean, and litei*ally invited us to sleep, and indeed we needed no 
second invitation. 

Tlie next morning there were but few for mass, as we were 
not expected, and we started early towards Guadalupe. This 
was the place which I had fixed upon for Sunday. It was cen- 
trally located in the valley of the Conejos, and a number of 
small hamlets were in the immediate vicinity. Guadalupe was 
but a small place, only five years old, built, unfortunately, on 
the low lands near the Conejos river and subject to inundation 
in times of high water. For this reason the Guadalupe people 
had laid out another town close by on the high ground of what 
was called "The Island," as it was nearly enclosed by the Con- 
ejos river on one side and the San Antonio creek on the other. 
This is the present town of Conejos, the county seat of Conejos 

Here let me correct an error which gives me the pleasure 
of saying the first mass at Conejos. Mass had been said in the 
valley from about 1853 by priests from Abiquiu, and Bishop 
Lamy gave confirmation there about 1854. Father Lucero went 
there once from AiToyo Hondo. My first visit to the valley 
was in 1857, when I said mass at four different points among 
the settlements. 

The first persons who came to meet the Senor Vicario were 
Don Jesus Velasques and Lafayette Head. These were the 
principal men of this miniature commonwealth. Mr. Velasques 
was a native of New Mexico, and Mr. Head had been a resident 
of New Mexico since he was about eighteen years old. He was 


a convert to the Catholic faith, havinp: been baptized by Bishop 
Lamy and also married by him to a Mexican lady of very good 
family. In after years Mr. Head was Lieutenant Governor of 
Colorado, and Mr. Yelasques was a member of the Legislature. 

At that time their houses consisted of but two rooms each, 
a kitchen and a large hall, and we lodged in the hall of Mr. 
Velasques and used the hall of Mr. Head for our temporary 

church. ,11* 

Two days were necessary here, for there were hundreds ot 
confessions and communions, and then, arrangements must be 
made for the building of a new church. Father Machebeuf 
went over the new town and picked out a good location, and a 
jacal church was built that same summer. This was replaced 
later by a fine church which was begun by Father Vigil and 
finished bv Father Rollv. The same church was afterwards 
greatly beautified by the Jesuit Fathers, and it is still in use 

in Conejos. , , ^ -, ^ ■ u- 

When it was time to go Father Machebeuf opened his big 
valise and oave prayerbooks to some, rosaries to the fathers to 
lead in daily prayers, catechisms to the mothers to teach the 
children, and medals and pictures to the children. He made 
them all happy, and they begged him to come again soon, ^or 
did they forget to put up a nice lunch of cakes and buttalo meat 
for us on our jouniey. Then a last blessing was given, and we 
left with the sound of their prayers following us : God bless 
you, and may Our Lady of Guadalupe accompany you 

When we were on the way Father Machebeuf said : Don t 
you like this kind of missionaiy life? I hate to stay at home 
even for a month at a time. For me, to work is to live, and 
such trips as this are full of consolation. It is the reverse 
however, when the Bishop sends me to discipline some poor un- 
fortunate priest, but it has to be done and I try, like the Good 
Samaritan, to pour some oil with the wine on the bleeding 
wounds. But such days as these at Conejos I love to think 
over I admire the simplicity and the faith of these good 
people, and their testimonials of love for the priest are but ex- 
pressions of their love for God Whom they honor in the pnest. 
The Mexicans may have queer ways in the eyes of some people- 
they are ignorant", they are poor and not veiy saving, but every- 
body has' his faults, but they have redeemmg qualities, and 
often more of them than their critics. „ „ , ..^q 

-By the way, you have never been to Fort Massachusetts? 
Then ymi cannot'^be familiar with American life, and st. 1 less 
with soldier life. I am glad we are going there; it will be a 


change of people and of language. I visit Fort Union and all 
the other military posts in New Mexico. There is no one else 
to do it, and the soldiers must have a chance to go to their 
duties. You will be surprised tomorrow to see the faith of 
these soldiers; it is a pity that they cannot be attended better." 

At the fort we were very hospitably received. The Catholic 
soldiers were relieved from duty the next morning, and I 
counted twenty-five communions. I was surprised to see them 
decorating the altar, and more so when I saw two of them serve 
mass as well as the best altar boys. Fort Massachusetts was 
moved a few miles some years later for strategic reasons and 
renamed Fort Garland. 

All went well so far, but here six inches of snow fell upon 
us, and it was the 3rd of May! However, we managed to leave 
for the Culebra villages, and there, on a smaller scale, it was 
a repetition of the work at Conejos. There was no church 
then at Culebra, but one was built shortly afterwards at a 
place called San Pedro, and a better one was built later at 
San Luis. 

This ended our mission in this direction, and we made oui 
way leisurely back to Arroyo Hondo. 

This was but one of Father Machebeuf s jour- 
neys. Similar journeys were made through every 
part of New Mexico. He traveled on horseback, 
and generally he had two animals for the saddle and 
a pack-mule. On the mule, besides his blankets and 
ordinary baggage, he carried a large valise which 
was a veritable Noah's Ark, filled with religious arti- 
cles for free distribution among the people. The 
Mexicans had almost nothing of this kind before 
1850, for everything up to that time was brought 
from Mexico on pack animals, and even the churches 
had but very little furniture or vestments. In sup- 
plying these things Bishop Lamy ran so far in debt 
that he almost despaired of ever getting out. 
Father Machebeuf was also generous in his bene- 
factions to the churches and poor priests, and thus 


kept himself poorer than any of them. He gave 
them all something, and visited all of them, and as 
for the people, every man, woman and child had 
some pious souvenir that came from his hand, and 
most of them had received it personally from his 
hand. There were few in New Mexico to whom he 
was a stranger, and when asked where he lived now, 
he would jocosely answer: "In the saddle!" or, 
''They call me El Vicario Andando (The Traveling 
Vicar), and I live on the Camino Real (the Public 
Highway)!" Who, knowing Bishop Machebeuf 
only in his later days, could ever imagine him in the 
saddle? Yet it would be impossible to calculate the 
many thousands of miles which he traveled on horse- 
back during the first twenty-five years of his mis- 
sionary life. 

In the summer of 1858 Father Machebeuf was in 
charge of the Diocese of Santa Fe while Bishop 
Lamy was attending the Second Provincial Council 
of St. Louis. During that time an event took place 
which tested Father Machebeuf 's sense of justice, 
and showed that he could not shield a supposed 
criminal, no matter what might be his position in 
life, nor refuse reparation when an injury was made 
'manifest. The occasion was one of inexpressible 
sadness, for it was at the death of Father Avel, and 
what made it more sad was that he died under the 
impression that an innocent person was the cause of 
his death, and this suspicion was the reason why a 
worthy priest rested for two years under the fright- 
ful charge of murder. 


Father Stephen Avel was ordained a priest at 
Clennont in France, about the year 1844. He was 
pious, talented, energetic, a good organizer, and 
zealous for the gloiy of God. These qualities 
recommended him to Bishop Lamy, and this prelate 
induced him to join the band of missionaries whom 
he was bringing to New Mexico in 1854. 

Upon arriving at Santa Fe Bishop Lamy kept 
Father Avel at the Cathedral where he labored with 
marked success. When Father Machebeuf was 
transferred from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, Father 
Avel was sent temporarily to Albuquerque, then to 
Socorro, and finally to Mora. His predecessor at 
Mora was the Rev. P. J. Munnecom who came to 
America in the same party. 

In the parish under Father Munnecom tliere 
was a woman living in a state of unlawful cohabita- 
tion with a man named Noel. The scandal was 
public, but the parties brazened it out until the 
woman fell dangerously ill. Father Munnecom was 
sent for but he would do nothing unless the woman 
would send the man away. This she did and was 
then reconciled to the Church, dying repentant a 
short time afterwards. The man was enraged and 
made some threats against Father Munnecom, but 
no one thought anything of them at the time. 

Father Munnecom remained at Mora for some 
time after the arrival of Father Avel, assisting 
willingly and amicably in the work of the missions 
until ready to take the new position to which he had 
been assigned. During this time Father Munnecom 


regularly said the first mass on Sundays when he 
was at home, but upon a certain occasion when he 
was expected, he did not return from his mission in 
time for the early mass, and Father Avel took his 
place at that service at nine o'clock. At the com- 
munion Father Avel detected something wrong with 
the sacred species in the chalice, and he suspected 
that the wine had been tampered with. Calling for 
fresh wine he completed the sacrifice, and by this 
time he was convinced that the wine had been pois- 
oned. Noel came to his relief to administer reme- 
dies, and incidentally to suggest that Father Munne- 
com must have poisoned the wine through jealousy 
at having been superseded in the parish. 

A messenger was sent to Las Vegas for Father 
Pinard, although it was suggested that Father 
Munnecom be found and brought to him. To this 
Father Avel objected, saying that he could not con- 
fess to a priest who wished to poison him. He made 
a short will, in which he forgave his murderer, and 
left his books to Bishop Lamy, but whatever money 
he had we wished to go towards founding a hospital 
at Santa Fe. Father Munnecom finally arrived, as 
also Father Pinard, but too late, — Father Avel was 

Father Munnecom immediately dispatched a 
messenger to Santa Fe for Father Machebeuf, who 
set out at once for Mora. Going by the way of Las 
Vegas he met there the man Noel, who told him his 
version of the occurrence and accused Father ]\[un- 
necom of the crime, adding that Father Avel had 


smiled at him as at bis best friend wbile be vv^as try- 
ing to relieve bim in bis agony. Fatber Macbebeuf 
knew notbing of Noel, and this story, told with 
sucb evident concern for Fatber Avel and witb no 
apparent rancor against Fatber Munnecom, was 
sufficient to disturb bim and make bim suspicious of 
Fatber Munnecom. 

Upon investigation no reasonable motive could 
be found to connect Fatber Munnecom witb tbe 
crime, and no evidence was brougbt except tbe re- 
ported words of Fatber Avel, and Fatber Munne- 
com 's failure to say tbe early mass tbat day. 
Motives were found to connect Noel witb an attempt 
to poison Fatber Munnecom wbo was expected to 
say tbe first mass tbat day, but wbo was accidentally 
detained until it was so late tbat Fatber Avel said 
tbe mass and drank tbe fatal dose. Tbe Freemasons 
kept up tbe persecution of Fatber Munnecom for 
two years, upon tbe absurd plea tbat Fatber Avel 
was a brotber mason, but tbe courts finally com- 
pletely exbonorated Fatber Munnecom. 

As for Noel, be disappeared completely after 
telling bis story to Fatber Macbebeuf and was never 
again seen in Mora. He bad a piece of land and a 
flock of sbeep, but be never returned to claim tbem. 
It was afterward reported tbat be wandered about 
in New Mexico and finally settled in tbe soutbern 
part of tbe Territory, wbere be was killed by some 
unknown person witbout any apparent provocation, 
but it was tbougbt tbat Noel's deatb was an act of 
revenge by some sufferer from some of bis later ras- 


Father Munnecom was reinstated, his honor re- 
stored to him, and no one rejoiced more sincerely 
with him than did Father Machebeuf. He officiated 
for several years afterwards in New Mexico with 
credit to himself and benefit to his flock, and was 
then given charge of the growing mission of Trini- 
dad in southera Colorado. Here he remained mitil 
1875, when he retired and went to spend the re- 
mainder of his years in well-merited rest in his 
childhood's home in Holland. 

Another trip of Father Machebeuf 's tliis year 
was toward the west from Santa Fe, and he traveled 
nearly 500 miles inspecting the different parishes 
and missions, and dispensing the word of God to 
many who had not heard it for years. He looked 
anxiously for the era of better roads and the com- 
ing of the railroads, and he foresaw in the distance 
its sure arrival. Civilization seemed to be coming 
on apace, and how he marks its progress. 

In 1851 we had no regular mail — the caravans carried our 
letters. In 1852 we had a regular monthly mail; later every 
fifteen days, and now (1858) from the beginning of July it is 
weekly. Soon we shall have a railroad and a telegraj)!). The 
question is being discussed in Congress now. We are advancing 
with giant strides. 

Again lie spoke of mail coming three times a 
week, but the giant strides were necessarily slow in 
reaching New Mexico. There was, however, a 
gigantic addition to the Diocese of Santa Fe, which 
placed upon Father Machebeuf an increase of work 
which made his former journeys appear like pleas- 
ure trips in comparison with his later travels. We 
shall speak of this in the following chapter. 


International Difficulties. — The Gadsden Treaty.— New 
Territory Added to the Diocese of Santa Fe. —Father Mache- 
beuf Goes to Mexico. — Incidents of the Trip. — Captain Mache- 
beuf. — Rumors of New Vicariate. — Visits Tucson. — Indian 
Tribes.— San Xavier del Bac— Efforts to Obtain New Mission- 
aries. — Last Trip to Arizona. — Recall. — Ruxton on New Mexico 
and Its Inhabitants. 

The treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo settled the 
question of war between the United States and Mexi- 
co, but new issues grew out of that treaty, which 
threatened to embroil the two countries in war 
again. The first of these was the determination of 
the boundary line between New Mexico and Chihua- 
hua, and the second was the demand for indemnity 
to the Mexicans on the frontier for losses caused by 
marauding Indians whom the United States govern- 
ment was bound to restrain. The Mexican govern- 
ment tried to settle the first question by taking 
armed possession of the disputed territory, and 
made fabulous claims which might run as high as 
$30,000,000, in settlement of the second. 

The United States government committed to its 
minister in Mexico, James Gadsden, an investigation 
of the troubles and, if possible, a settlement of the 
difficulties. Through him a new treaty was made, 
which marked a new and definite boundary line, 
taking in more than 45000 square miles of new ter- 
ritory, and annexing to the United States the Mexi- 
cans who had suffered from the Indian raids. In 


return tlie United States a<2:reed to pay to Mexico 
the sum of $10,000,000. 

This new territory was taken from the States 
of Chilmaliua and Sonora and added to New Mexico 
in 1854, It now forms the soutliern portion of New 
Mexico and Arizona. It was then organized into a 
new County of New Mexico and named Arizona 

Coming into tlie possession of the United States, 
this territory naturally should come under the juris- 
diction of Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe. The Church 
authorities at Rome regarded the matter in this 
light and made the transfer accordinsrly, and in due 
time Bishop Lamy was notified of this new addition 
to his diocese. This was sufficient territory for a 
new vicariate, and there were rumors afloat that one 
was to be established with Father Machebeuf at its 

• At any rate, similar reasons to those which made 
Bishop Lamy visit Mexico in 1851, rendered another 
visit necessary now. ^Matters of jurisdiction were 
to be settled, transfers of diocesan property made, 
and a general understanding entered into between 
Bishop Lamy and the Mexican Bishops. To eifect 
all these arrangements Bishop Lamy sent Father 
Machebeuf on that long journey, and upon liis re- 
turn. Father Machebeuf wrote to his sister the fol- 
lowing account of liis mission. 

I left Santa Fe on the 3rd of November, 1858, and stopped 
a few days at my old parish of Albuquerque, and at several 
other missions on my route. Towards the end of November I 
arrived at El Paso, a very pretty town in the northeast extrem- 


ity of the State of Chihuahua, within a few miles of the boun- 
dary betAveen New Mexico and Texas. Here is the residence of 
Dom Ramon Ortiz, the Vicar General of Mgr. de Zubiria, Bishop 
of Durango. I had already made his acquaintance when we 
were on our way to Santa Fe in 1851, and he received me now 
as an old friend. He was verj' kind and hospitable, but when 
I broached the subject of his resignation of the jurisdiction 
which he exercised over the different villages of Arizona he 
raised a cloud of objections and difficulties upon the pretext 
that he had received no instiiictions to that effect from his 
Bishop. I then showed him the original decree from the Car- 
dinal Prefect of the Propaganda, Avhich aggi'egated to the 
Diocese of Santa Fe all the population of Arizona within the 
new boundaries. He took a copy of this and promised to send 
it immediately to Durango and to act according to the orders 
which he would receive from the Bishop of that city, nine hun- 
dred miles from El Paso. He gave me permission to say mass 
wherever I wished to do so, but I did not care to stop any 
length of time for mission work until I had all the necessary 
faculties and full jurisdiction. 

I said mass at an American fort located close to the fron- 
tiers of the three states — Texas, Chihuahua and New Mexico— 
and there I learned that a detachment of soldiers had just 
started from Santa Barbara for Tucson, which was the end of 
my journey in that direction. I made all haste to overtake 
them, and came up with them about nine o'clock on the evening 
of the second day. After answering the challenge of the sen- 
tinel and convincing him that it would be safe to let me pass, I 
went straight to the tent of the commanding officer. That indi- 
vidual did not wish to get up, but he gave ordei'S that I should 
be furnished with everything that was necessary. This was 
just what I wanted, and I spent the night in peace. 

Learning that there was no danger from the four or five 
tribes of savages through which I had to pass, I left the sol- 
diers, who were on foot, and with two Mexicans pushed on to 
Fort Buchanan, Avhere I arrived without accident. After say- 
ing mass there a few days and one Sunday, I started for Tucson, 
a village of about SOO souls, built around an ancient Mexican 
fortress. Nine miles from Tucson I came to the Indian village 
of St. Fi'aneis Xavier among the Pima Indians, a tribe almost 
all Catholics. I had the pleasure of finding there a large brick 
church, very rich and beautiful for that country. It was begun 
by the Jesuits and finished by the Franciscans. From here I 
visited Tubac, the site of an old Mexican fort among the silver 


and copper mines, also Tuniacacmi and several other Indian 

Continuing my journey, I spent Christmas at Santa Magda- 
lena, a large parish in the Diocese of Sonora. New Year's Day 
I was at San Miguel, 300 miles from Tucson, and Epiphany at 
Hermosillo, a beautiful city of 12,000 souls. 

My ne.xt j)oint was Guaymas, a seaport on the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia. There I took a boat on the Pacific and went about 200 
miles fariher to Alamos, where I found Mur. Dom Pedro Loza, 
the Bishop of Sonora. He received me very cordially, and after 
reading the decrees of the Propaganda, renounced his jurisdic- 
tion with the best of gi-ace, and gave me a document in form to 
show the transfer of authority to Bishop Lamy. He also gave 
me the faculties of his diocese, and a personal letter of recom- 
mendation to the priests and people under his jurisdiction. I 
made good use of this, and profited not a little by it on my way 

And now, after satisfying your curiosity about my little 
trip of 3,000 miles, I want to rectify a false rumor going around 
in regard to my future. It is a noise in the air and nothing 
more. Father juillard, whom we call the chatterer, very prob- 
ably brought it to your ears. It is true that Bishop Lamy, con- 
sidering the immense territory bought from the Mexican Re- 
public, several times expressed his opinion on the necessity of 
making it a new vicariate, but the time for that has not yet 
arrived. There are as yet only a few new colonies in it, and 
some old missions of Sonora, abandoned in part these many 
years, and the population is not large enough to call for such a 
division of the diocese. The entire population of the district 
is only about 14,000. It is true, also, that the President in his 
message proi>nsed to take possession of the two States of 
Sonora and Chihuahua to satisfy certain claims, aggregating 
some .$10,000,000, a<rainst the IMexican government. If that idea 
were carried out there would be two immense dioceses to add 
to the Province of St. Louis, but Congi-ess rejected the proposi- 
tion of the President, and the question was laid on the table 

Before all these political questions are settled there may be 
many changes, and even should there be a division of the dio- 
cese, the Bishops of the Province will find many other subjects 
more suitable and more capable than I am in every way. This 
is the least of my worries. Man may propose, but God will 

The new territory begins about 300 miles south of Santa 


Fe, and may be 800 miles from east to west and 400 miles from 
north to south. It is a beautiful country, rich in mines of g'old 
and silver, but in certain parts is very arid. I shall soon start 
again over the same gi'ound on a fresh missionary trip, omitting, 
of course, that special part of it to Sonora. 

On his Mexican trip Father Machebeuf intended 
to go as far as Durango and see Bishop Zubiria in 
person, and for this purpose he planned to sail from 
Guaymas to Mazatlan, the nearest port to Durango. 
At Guaymas he met with a disappointment in the 
failure of the regular steamer to arrive, but General 
Stone, an American and a Catholic, who was the 
chief engineer of a company employed in the Mexican 
Coast Survey, came to his aid and fitted out a sailing 
vessel, furnished him a crew and provisions for the 
voyage, appointed him Captain and sent him on his 
way rejoicing. 

From Bishop Losa he learned that a state of 
civil war existed at Mazatlan and that the port was 
blockaded. At this news Captain Machebeuf re- 
signed his naval commission and sent back the boat 
against the heavy currents to Guaymas, while he 
made the return trip by land, visiting the many par- 
ishes and Indian missions on his way. He was well 
received everywhere he went, even by the Indian 
tribes who were reported to him by the Mexican of- 
ficials as being fierce and warlike, but whom he found 
to be the very contrary. They were all Catholics and 
deeply religious, and the reason they were not friend- 
ly towards the officials was that these same officials 
had abused them and sacked and burned several of 
their villages and churches. Father Machebeuf spent 


several weeks on these various visits, and thus his 
long trip was made pleasant and profitable. 

The Arizona of that time was not the Arizona of 
today. Then it began at El Paso and Mesilla on the 
Rio Grande, and extended westward to California. 
The present Arizona includes the western half of this 
territory and the western half of the old Territory of 
New Mexico, and the eastern parts of both, as they 
then existed, were joined to form the new Territory 
of New Mexico. Arizona was organized as a sepa- 
rate Territory in 1863. 

The western part of the newly acquired territory 
was subject to the Bishop of Sonora in spirituals, and 
the eastern part to the Bishop of Durango. These 
prelates had so much territory under them that a 
visitation of all of it was practically impossible. It 
is not known when the Bishop of Sonora visited Tuc- 
son, but the Bishop of Durango, as we have seen, with 
an armed escort, went to Santa Fe on three different 
ocasions in about twenty-five years. He was perhaps 
the first Bishop to visit New Mexico. 

When Father Machebeuf returned to Santa Fe 
he drew up a full report of his mission for the So- 
ciety of the Propagation of the Faith, and he added 
to it, on the part of Bishop Lamy, a detailed account 
of the condition of religion in the whole Diocese of 
Santa Fe. 

The new journey to which Father Machebeuf re- 
fers was begun on May 3, 1859, and it lasted until the 
following September. It was a journey which com- 
bined missionary work with exploration. There were 


colonies and communities am^ong the Mexicans and 
Indians, which were Imown to have been Catholic at 
some time in the past. A few .of these had been at- 
tended at irregular intei'vals by a priest in later 
years, and the faith was found to have survived, al- 
though its practices were greatly obscured or forgot- 
ten. Many other places where the faith once flour- 
ished had been left unattended, and in these the re- 
membrance of the faith was all that survived. The 
passing of a missionary among some of the Indian 
tribes was still a tradition brought down from the 
remote past. It was as if a messenger from heaven 
had visited them ; they reverentl)^ preserved a mem- 
ory of it and tried to keep up some of the practices 
he taught them. Thus, among many of the Indian 
tribes of New Mexico and Arizona were found ves- 
tiges of Christian practices mixed with pagan relig- 
ious ceremonies. For generations they had no 
religious care — in fact, the destruction of the Mis- 
sions was the end of real Christianity for them. They 
were then left without religious teachers and guides, 
and the passing away of the older members of the 
tribes left the younger ones with ever weakening 
recollections of the Christian religion and the grow- 
ing temptation to return to their ancient supersti- 

The larger settlements, aromid the Missions or 
where the Mexicans were gathered, were better at- 
tended and some of them had a resident pastor for a 
time, or a priest came at intervals to visit them. Few 
of these remote settlements, however, were perma- 


nent. They were established for tlie pui-poses of 
mining, and when the mines ceased to be profitable 
the people went elsewhere and left the Indians to 
their own resources. 

\\aieu Father Machebeuf went to Arizona he 
found himself alone to attend to this entire western 
district. During the month of May he made his way 
slowly from station to station, this time with full 
ecclesiastical authority, from the Mesilla valley west- 
ward, crossing the valleys and streams tributary to 
the Gila river, stopping wherever he found any set- 
tlements or pueblos with any religion in them. He 
could not prepare many for the sacraments, but he 
baptized their children and validated their mar- 
riages. He also gathered all the information that he 
could get about other places, to serve him for future 
purposes in visiting them or sending them priests. 

It was June when he reached Tucson, and there 
he spent two months in work worthy of an apostle. 
He visited all the neighboring missions and pueblos 
of Papago, Pima and other Indians, in addition to the 
many tribes he saw on his way going and returning. 
He also took steps for the repair and preservation ot 
the old Mission Church of San Xavier del Bac. This 
old church, built in by-gone and almost forgotten 
times, was a ruin like the rest of the Mission churches, 
but it was susceptible of repair and partial restora- 
tion At subsequent visits he urged the further work 
and succeeded in putting it in such condition that it 
could be used for services. It was a grand old church 
before abandonment and desolation came ui>on it, 
and one who saw it in its ruins could thus describe it : 


"Away towards the glowing Southland, neath a dome of azure 

Near where the Santa Cruz rambles thro' the plain 'mid the 

mountains blue, 
Majestic among the hillocks where the cactus luxurient grows, 
Looming up 'gainst the distant mountain crowned with mid- 
summer snows. 
Stands the old Church of San Xavier, lifting its tower high, 
And its cross gleams out to the distance Avhere the Rockies 
touch the sky. 

Gaze at its massive portal, bearing upon its arch 

The date of a century vanished in the ages' onward march. 

And mark above the entrance to the ancient temple bless 'd, 

Preaching love and penance, the old Franciscan crest. 

Like a crown bereft of its brightness above this crest so good, 

Remains but the lone pedestal where once a statue stood. 

Glance at the shattered casements, looking so grand and grim 
That the twilight almost shudders ere it ventures to enter in. 
Pause at the noble gateway, study the stately towers 
That, looking down the vallej', have seen a century's flowers. 
List to the old bells chiming fi'om their windy room above. 
While back from the mountain is echoed the music of faith and 

Step within the gateway, pause in the atrium dim. 
See in the shade of the tower the mortuary chapel grim. 
Chapel 'd beneath this tower is the tarnished font — once bright. 
Whence flowed the saving waters on many a neophyte. 
And on the wall beside it is pictured the Baptist gi'ave, 
Pouring on Christ the water caught from Jordan's wave. 

Enter the ancient temple, stand in the sacred pile, 

Trace in its every outline the well-marked Moorish style. 

A sigh will come unbidden, like a troubled ocean wave. 

And you drop a tear of sadness as you pass thro' its only nave. 

Measure the lofty arches— each a vision recalls — 

Resting, as if by magic, on the pillars in the walls. 

Turn to the right and ponder, pictured upon the wall. 

The chosen ones, all kneeling, where tongues of fire fall. 

Then turn away from the vision of the bright descending Dove, 

To read the frescoed s\ory of the ancient Supper of Love. 

In the epistle chapel, with gently folded hands. 

Beneath the cross, all tearful, the Mother of Sorrow stands. 


And on another altar, where sculptured angrels wait, 

Shrined in a golden nimbus, stands the Immaculate 

Look at the walls around you, whence our Queen of the Rosary 

stoops ,. , 

To give the mystic chaplet to the kneeling angel groups 
Thefe too, the'work of the artist, dimmed by the breath of time, 
Shows the scene at Nazareth, in the life of Him divine. 

Come to the gospel chapel and look at the face so mild 
Of the gentle Foster-father guarding the Saviour Child 
Kneel at its shrine of sorrow, where the story of ove is old 
By the cross, the nails, and the scourges, and the dead Chnst 

pale and cold. . j. er a 

Here, too, the well-traced picture, which time has not effaced, 
Shows our Infant Lord in the temple, in Simeon's fond em- 


And again, the brush of the artist, moved by some train-ed 

hand, ., ,. , ■, 

Tells the '^tory of Sarragossa in the trans-atlantic land. 
And pictured upon the banner is Our Lady of Guadalupe- 
Flowers are clust'ring 'round her, and wond'nng angels group. 
And still in its dim old comer, seeming to smile at time. 
Stands the tribunal of penance— that mercy seat sublime. 

Turn we to the altar— like warriors clad in steel- 

Guarding the chancel gateway, crouch the Lions of Old Castile. 

Above the sacred table, clasping the cross in his hands. 

Clad in his sable habit, the sainted Xavier stands. 

And yet above the Patron, as watching over all, 

Appears the Virgin Mother, guarded by Peter and Paul. 

And 'mid the half-burned tapers, and vases old and odd. 
With the crucifix above it, is the home of the captive God. 
And in the fading pictures on the chancel walls, to the right 
Behold the adoring Magi, and the Holy Family's flight. 
While near the gospel corner with Mary, face to face. 
Appears the Great Archangel, hailing her, "Full of Grace. 

And the cold wall tells the story of the morning scene of yore, 
When the shepherds came from the hillside the new-born God 

t 'adore, 
like sentinels ever watchful on Sion's ancient towers, 


Stand on either side tb' apostles 'twixt vases of moldering 

While out from the antique niches look Franciscan saints of 

And bright-winged cherubs cluster on the ceiling high and cold. 

Climb we the stairs to the choir, and study the pictured walls, 
Where chanted the tonsured Friars in their dark old oaken 

Dimm'd by the veil that a century's dust has over them 

Look down the four great authors from the frescoes overhead. 
And Blessed Francis, carried in a fiery chariot of love. 
Seems to take flight from this drear land to realms of joy above. 

And Dominic, all enraptured, with fixed and upturned face. 
Receives the blessed chaplet from the beautiful Mother of 

One more picture we notice ere our pious task is done,— 
The quiet home at Nazareth, where dwelt the Holy One. 
It looks but the caipenter's dwelling, with the walls unadorned 

and bare, 
But, Oh ! 'tis effulgent with gloiy, for Jesus and Mary are there. 

And Joseph, the Foster-father, as lil}- undefiled. 

Sits near the Virgin Mother, caressed by the Holy Child. 

Carefully down the stairway we slowly wend our way. 

Filled with an awe and sadness, that moves the heart to pray— 

Pray that old San Xavier's may not for aye be forgot. 

And again the lamp of religion may burn in the holy spot. 

Soon may the Papagoes gather beneath the sacred shade 
Where their fathers knelt 'round the Black-robe, listen 'd, be- 

liev'd and prayed. 
Soon may the Black-robe's labor the treasures of faith unfold. 
And this Mission bloom in the valley, as once it bloomed of old. 
May its fading pictures be biighten'd, its statues newly dress 'd. 
And the touch of the artist emblazon its old Franciscan ci-est. 

May its arches again re-echo the sound of the Vesper hymn, 
And fervent souls to worship kneel in the shadows dim. 
Brushed from each shrine and altar the gathering dust and 


May the daily oblation be offered which the Prophet had fore- 
told,— , ,, ,, 
May its broken cross be uplifted, and its bells more sweetly 

chime, . ,, 

And its sh>»T remain untarnished until the eve o± time. 

Tlie above was written by the Rev. Nicholas 
Seallen, a priest of the Diocese of Dubuque, who died 
a few years ago a member of the household of Bishop 
Scanlan of Salt Lake. Father Seallen was a poet 
of no mean ability and wrote under the name of 

xVt the beginning of the year 1860, we find 
Father ^laehebeuf again at Santa Fe, ready to set 
out upon another of his missionarj^ trips after a sea- 
son of suffering from malarial fever, contracted 
during his labor and exposure in Arizona, but with 
his mind ever alert for the good of his people, and 
intent upon securing every possible benefit for the 
diocese. On Feb. 2, 1860, he wrote this last letter 
from Santa Fe to his sister :— 

To-moiTow I start upon a short tour of four or five weeks, 
and, not wishin- to make you wait for answei-s to your last 
three letters which I received all at the same time, I write to 
tell you that I am now in f^ood health. I say "now," because, 
after my return from my lon.a: trip to Arizona I was sufferine: 
for nearly two months. From what my brother Manus tells 
me I judge that vou are not yet very strong yourself after 
your late illness. But what matters the strength of the body, 
'provided we have enough of it to fulfill the various missions 
which God has entrusted to us, and show Him that we have no 
other desire than to spend and be spent for His glory and our 
own salvation? To illustrate this by a practical application 
of it to our own case, here is something which we can do. 

Bishop Lamv would have written long ago to the Superior 
of the Fathers of the Holy Ohost, and of the Sacred Heart of 
Marj', but the expenses, and also debts, occasioned by new ad- 


ditions to the Convent of the Sisters of Loretto, and especially 
by the purchase and re-modeling of a building for the College 
of the Christian Brothers, left him no time to think of any- 
thing else. The prodigious increase of the population causes 
us to feel the want of priests now more than ever, notwith- 
standing the re-enforcements which Ave have received at three 
different times. Trusting to Providence he has decided to write 
to the Superior of the Cellule with whom Father Eguillon got 
acquainted. The letter is enclosed in this, and I wish you to 
address it, for the Bishop has forgotten the Superior's name, 
and forward it immediately. The Bishop also asks me to 
recommend this project, which is almost his only resource, to 
your prayers and those of the community, and do not forget 
to bring it to the notice of Madame Andraud who has shown 
so much zeal for the establishment of religious orders. The 
Diocese of Clermont is now so well supiDlied with such estab- 
lishments that it is no more than just that the Diocese of Santa 
Fe, which is almost entirely served by priests from Auvergne, 
should have some benefit from her generosity. 

This is especially true now since the new territory has 
been added to our burdens, and I am interested above all 
others in the success of the idea, because the Bishop has given 
me charge of those far-off missions. There is no one else avail- 
able, and, until new aiTangements can be made, it will be my 
duty to visit them twice a year in spite of the 600 miles which 
separate them from Santa Fe. They are in what will be the 
new Territory of Arizona, but as yet it is only a count}' of 
New Mexico, but eight times as large as the other counties. 

Pray for me fervently and often, for these long journeys 
are not favorable to piety, but I have confidence in God, and 
your prayers will help me to keep up my courage and pious 

Father Machebeuf called those "short trips," 
which did not occupy more than a few weeks. His 
visits to Arizona were not of this kind, but of months' 
duration, for he had an extent of a whole diocese 
to visit. Going and coming he actively officiated 
along the entire way, and his work in and around 
Tucson and the western part of Arizona required 
much time and travel. When he returned from this 


short trip he set out again to make one of his semi- 
annual visits to Arizona, It was to be his last visit, 
although no one suspected it then, for no one fore- 
saw the turn which events would take within the 
next few months. On the occasion of this trip his 
absence was more than usuall)' felt by Bishop Lamy. 
They had been friends from boyhood, were in the 
seminary together, came to America at the same 
time, and had labored as neighbors during all the 
years of their early missionary life. From time to 
time in Ohio they visited each other to rest and be re- 
freshed by a few days of life in the atmosphere of 
friendship and brotherly love. Their familiar ex- 
pression "Latsin pas" (never give up), was always 
a signal for renewed courage and fresh effort. 

It was this friendship, in addition to necessity, 
which made Bishop Lamy bring him to Santa Fe, 
and now the bond, strengthened by closer associa- 
tion, made long separation a trial. Somehow Bishop 
Lamy felt the separation, and it wore upon him until 
he sent word to Father Machebeuf, asking him to 
hasten his return. To Father Machebeuf this was 
equivalent to a command, and he lost no time in mak- 
ing the 600 miles of the return trip. 

Upon arriving at Santa Fe he was welcomed by 
the Bishop, who, however, made no allusion to the 
cause of his recall. Father Machebeuf was obliged 
to ask for the reasons, when Bishop Lamy replied: 
*'0h, there was nothing in particular, but I wanted 
to see you. We have not been enough together, and 
you were so long away that I was lonesome for you 


and longing for your return. Just stay here with 
me now for a while and rest. It will be pleasant to 
talk over old times. We have not too much consola- 
tion of this intimate sort and I feel that we need some 
now. In a short time you can go ag'ain. ' ' 

Dearly as Father Machebeuf loved Bishop 
Lamy, he was not quite satisfied with this explana- 
tion. The work of God called him, and he looked at 
the good which he might be continually doing. Idle- 
ness was distasteful to him, and even friendship 
could not reconcile him to a long continuance in it. 
Time and again he thought of starting out, but the 
BishoiD always restrained him, telling him it was too 
soon and asking him to wait a little while longer. 

Sometimes there are mysterious feelings and 
longings which cannot be accounted for at the time, 
but for which a reason seems to appear later. It may 
be God 's way of accomplishing His designs, or it may 
be merely a co-incidence which leads us to look for a 
supernatural explanation of the phenomena. These 
longings of Bishop Lamy to keep Father Machebeuf 
with him at this special time may have been but the 
outgrowth of their great affection, or they may have 
been given to him for a purpose then unlvuown, but 
which was a part of God's plans for the future. In 
any case, they seemed to have been the starting point 
for the turning of the life of Father Machebeuf in 
an entirely new and different direction, and one 
which logically led to the Bishopric of Denver. 

Father Machebeuf 's work in New Mexico, like 
his work in Ohio, was that of the pioneer. The ma- 

LIVE UF BlSllor MACliKHiaF. 259 

terial portion of it was but temporary, but the moral 
part was permaneut. It formed the foundation upon 
which his successors built grander edifices, and 
achieved greater visible results. Without this pre- 
paratory work little could be done, and both in Ohio 
and in New Mexico the transformation was but little 
short of the wonderful. In Ohio we can trace much 
of it to the natural develoinnent of the country, but 
in New Mexico we nmst look for other causes, for the 
change is less in the material development of the 
country than in the moral uplifting of an entire 

The following extracts are from "Adventures 
in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains," by George F. 
Ruxton, an English traveler who gives his im- 
pressions of New Mexico after a trip made in 1846. 
Ruxton was a member of the Royal Geographical 
Society, the Ethnological Society, etc., and was not 
supposed to be writing romance. 

The houses are all of adobe, inside and out, one story high, 
and with the usual azotea or Hat roof. They have grenerally a 
small window, with thin sheets of talc (which here abounds) 
as a substitute for glass. They are, however, kept clean in- 
side, the mud floors being watered and swept nuiny times a 
day. The faces of the women were all stained Avith the fiery 
red juice of a plant called alegria, from the forehead to the 
chin. This is for the purpose of jirotecting their skin from 
the effects of the sun, and preserving them in untanned beauty 
to be expo.sed in the fandangos. Of all the people in the world 
the Mexicans have the greatest antipathy to water, hot or cold, 
for ablutionary pui-poses. The men never touch their faces 
with that element, except in their bi-monthly shave; and the 
women besmear themselves with fresh coats of alegi'ia when 
their faces become dirty; thus their countenances are covered 
with alternate strata of paint and diit. caked, and cracked in 


fissures. My first impressions of New Mexico were anything 
but favorable, either to the country or the people. The pojDU- 
lation of Socorro was wretched-looking, and every counten- 
ance seemed marked by vice and debauchery. The men ap- 
pear to have no other employment than smoking and basking 
in the sun, wrapped in their sarapes; the women in dancing 
and intrigue. The appearance of Soeoi-ro is that of a dilapi- 
dated brick-kiln, or prairie-dog town; indeed, from these ani- 
mals the Mexicans appear to have derived their style of archi- 
tecture. In every village we entered, the women flocked round 
us begging for tobacco or money, the men loafing about, pil- 
fering ever>' thing they could lay their hands on. As in other 
parts of Mexico, the women wore the enagua, or red petticoat, 
and reboso, and were all bare-legged. The men were some of 
them clad in buckskin shirts, made by the Indians. 

The churches in the villages of New Mexico are quaint lit- 
tle buildings, looking, with their adobe walls, like turf-stacks. 
At each corner of the facade half a dozen bricks are erected in 
the form of a tower, and a center ornament of the same kind 
supports a wooden cross. They are really the most extraor- 
dinarj' and primitive specimens of architecture I ever met with, 
and the decorations of the interior are equal to the promises 
held out by the imposing outside. 

The families of Armijo, Chaves, Perea, and Ortiz are par 
excellence the ricos of New Mexico — indeed, all the wealth of 
the pi'ovince is concentrated in their hands; and a more grasp- 
ing set of people, and more hard-hearted oppressors of the 
poor, it would be difficult to find in any other part of Mexico, 
where the rights or conditions of the poorer classes are no more 
considered than in civilized counti'ies is the welfare of dogs 
and pigs. 

Santa Fe, the capital of the province of Nuevo Mejico, 
contains about three thousand inhabitants, and is situated 
about fourteen miles from the left bank of the Del Norte, at 
the foot of a mountain forming one of the eastern chain of 
the Rocky Mountains. The town is a wretched collection of 
mud-houses, without a single building of stone, although it 
bonsts a palncio — as the adobe residence of the governor is 
called — a long, low building, taking up the gi'eater portion of 
one side of the plaza or public square, i-ound which runs a 
portal or colonnade supported by pillars of rough pine. The 
appearance of the town defies description, and I can compare 
it to nothing but a brick-kiln or prairie-dog town. The in- 
habitants are worthy of their city, and a more miserable, vie- 


ious-lookinpf population it would be hard to imagine. Neither 
was the town improved, at the time of my visit, by the addi- 
tion to the population of some three thousand Americans, 
the dirtiest, rowdiest crew I have ever seen collected together. 

Crowds of drunken volunteers filled the streets, brawling 
and boasting, but never fighting; Mexicans, wrapped in sarapes, 
scowled upon them as they passed ; donkey-loads of hoja — corn- 
shucks— were hawking about for sale; and Pueblo Indians and 
priests jostled the rude crowds at every step. Under the por- 
tals were numerous montc-tables, surrounded by Mexicans and 
Americans. Evei-^' other house was a grocery, as they call a 
gin or whiskey shop, continually disgorging reeling, drunken 
men, and every where filth and dirt reigned triumphant. 

The extent of the Province of New Mexico is difficult to 
define, as the survey of the northern sections of the republic 
has never been undertaken, and a great portion of the country 
is still in the hands of the aborigines, w'ho are at constant 
war with the Mexicans. It has been roughly estimated at six 
thousand square miles, with a population of seventy thousand, 
including the three castes of descendants of the original set- 
tlers. Mestizos, and Indios Manzos or Pueblos; the Mestizos, as 
is the case throughout the country, bearing a large proportion 
to the Mexico-Spanish portion of the population— in this case 
as fifty to one. 

The Pueblos, who are the original inhabitants of New 
Mexico, and living in villages, are partially civilized, and are 
the most industrious portion of the population, and cultivate 
the soil in a higher degree than the New Mexicans themselves. 
In these Indians, in their dwellings, their manners, customs, 
and physical character, may be traced a striking analogy to 
the Aztccans or ancient Mexicans. Their houses or villages are 
constructed in the same manner as, from existing ruins, we 
may infer that the Aztecans constructed theirs. These build- 
ings are two, three, and even five stories, without doors or any 
external conmiunication, the entrance being at the top by means 
of ladders through a tra))-door in the azotea or flat roof. The 
population of the different Pueblos scattered along the Del 
Norte and to the westward of it is estimated at twelve thousand, 
without including the Moquis, who have preserved their in- 
dependence since the year 1680. 

It is remarkable that, although existing from the earliest 
times of the colonization of New Mexico, a period of two cen- 
turies, in a state of continual hostility with the numerous sav- 
age tribes of Indians who surround their territory, and in con- 


stant insecurity of life and property from their attacks— being 
also far removed from the enervating influences of large cities, 
and, in their isolated situation, entirely dependent upon their 
OAvn resources— the inhabitants are totally destitute of those 
qualities which, for the above reasons, we might naturally have 
expected to distinguish them, and are as deficient in energy of 
character and physical courage as they are in all the moral 
and intellectual qualities. In their social state but one degree 
removed from the veriest savage, they might take a lesson even 
from these in morality and the conventional decencies of life. 
Imposing no restraint upon their passions, a shameless and uni- 
versal concubinage exists, and a total disregard of moral laws, 
to which it would be impossible to find a parallel in any country 
calling itself civilized. A want of honorable principle, and con- 
summate duplicity and treachery, characterize all their deal- 
ings. Liars by nature, they are treacherous and faithless to 
their friends, cowardly and cringing to their enemies; cruel, as 
all cowards are, they unite savage ferocity with their want of 
animal courage; as an example of which, their recent massacre 
of Governor Bent and other Americans may be given. 

The Pueblo Indians of Taos, Pecuris, and Acoma speak a 
language of which a dialect is used by those of the Rio Abajo, 
including the Pueblos of San Felipe, Ysleta, and Xemes. They 
are eminently distingTiished from the New Mexicans in their 
social and moral character, being industrious, sober, honest, 
brave, and at the same time peaceably inclined if their rights 
are not infringed. Although the Pueblos are nominally 
Cristianos, and have embi*aced the outward forms of la santa 
fe catolica, they yet, in fact, still cling to the belief of their 
fathers, and celebrate in seci'et the ancient rites of their re- 
ligion. The aged and devout of both sexes may still be often 
seen on their flat house-tops, with their faces turned to the ris- 
ing sun, and their gaze fixed in that direction from whence they 
expect, sooner or later, the god of air will make his appearance. 
They are careful, however, not to practice any of these rites be- 
fore strangers, and ostensibly to conform to the ceremonies of 
the Roman Church. 

I found all over New Mexico that the most bitter feeling 
and most determined hostility existed against the Americans, 
who certainly in Santa Fe and elsewhei'e have not been verjf 
anxious to conciliate the people, but by their bullying and over- 
bearing demeanor towards them, have in a great measure been 
the cause of this hatred, which shortly after broke out in an 


orj^anized rising of the northern part of the province, and occa- 
sioned great loss of life to both parties. 

Several distilleries are worked both at Fernandez and El 
Raneho, the latter better known to the Americans as The Ranch. 
Most of tlieni belong to Americans, who are generally trappers 
and huntei"s, who, having married Taos women, have settled 
here. The Taos whiskey, a raw, fiery spirit which they manu- 
facture, has a ready market in the mountains among the hunt- 
ers and trappers, and the Indian tradei"s, who tind the fire- 
water the most profitable article of trade with the aborigines, 
who exchange for it their buffalo robes and other peltries at a 
"tremendous sacrifice." 

I was obliged to remain at Rio Colorado two days, for my 
foot was so badly frozen that I was quite unable to put it to 
the ground. In this place I found that the Americans were in 
bad odor; and as I was equipped as a mountaineer, I came in 
for a tolerable share of abuse whenever I limped througii the 
village. As my lameness prevented me from pursuing my tor- 
mentors, they were unusually daring, saluting me, every time I 
passed to the shed where my animals were corraled, with cries 
of "Jackass, jackass, come here and eat shucks!" "Hello, 
game-leg, go and see your brothers, the donkeys!" 

Ruxton was a vivid painter but ho worked with 
a heavy brush, and he looked for scenes to suit his 
lurid colors. His pictures, in consequence, were ex- 
aggerated while having a semblance to tnith and na- 
tu'*e in them. Father Machebeuf s letters show that 
tliere was a great deal of depravity among the ]\Iexi- 
cans, but they show also that there was much good, 
and when they were properly treated they could 
make friends and stand by them. There was a 
foundation upon which to build by teaching and ex- 
ami)le, and Father Machebeuf found it although Mr. 
Ruxton could not see it. 

It is possible to disagree with a writer in some 
of liis conclusions witliout discrediting liis entire 
work. ^Ir. Kuxton's book is rich in vnhiabie in- 


formation upon a subject that was new and fascinat- 
ing, but it bears the marks of limited observation. 
His trip through New Mexico was about as rapid 
as he could make it from El Paso on the Rio Grande 
to Pueblo on the Arkansas river. It occupied from 
November 14, 1846, to January 1847. At that time 
the Mexican war was in progress, and the Americans 
were cordially hated. Every Anglo-Saxon was con- 
sidered an American by the Mexicans, as Mr. Rux- 
ton says, unless proof to the contrary was given, and 
Euxton did not fly the British flag before him. That 
he was not received with greater civility was partly 
owing to this state of affairs. Then Mr. Euxton was 
an Englishman and a Protestant, and would, for this 
double reason, naturally be suspicious of Spanish 
Catholics. This was his misfortune and not alto- 
gether his fault. 

His book, while very valuable, shows evidences 
of the hurried trip, and his logic is faulty in that he 
judges the character of an entire nation from the 
actions of a few individuals, and all times by what 
he witnessed in a season of unusual excitement. He, 
also, from his observations on the same trip, formed 
the judgment that ''the American can never become 
a soldier ; his constitution will not bear the restraint 
of discipline, neither will his very mistaken notions 
about liberty allow him to subject hmself to its nec- 
essary control." Both judgments are based upon 
equal grounds, and should merit equal modifications. 

After making all necessary allowances, we must 
still conclude that the New Mexico of today is but a 


faint picture of the New Mexico of sixty years ago. 
Riixton made his sliadows too dark; Father ^Maolie- 
beuf may have drawn them witli too light a liand; 
to-day neither of them would find his old picture in 
the actual conditions. 

To what must we attribute the improvement? 
Not principally to the inilux of Americans and Amer- 
ican ideas, for every one knows that the Americans 
who have gone to New IMexico for any other pur- 
pose than that of exploiting the resources of the 
country and enriching themselves, have been so few 
that their influence could have no appreciable effect 
upon the people as a whole. The philosophy, as well 
as the facts, of history points to the work of Bishop 
Lamy, Father Machebeuf, and the other Catholic 
missionaries, as the great cause in the reformation of 
the New Mexican, and in his elevation to his present 
condition of comparatively intelligent, honest and 
moral civilization. 

Writers are apt to be less careful in their as- 
sertions if their subject is new, and contradiction im- 
probable for lack of information. Kuxton wrote 
upon a new subject, and at a time when criticism was 
impossible, for very little accurate knowledge of 
New Mexico was then obtainable, and he knew, too, 
that he was writing for a public that symi^athized 
with him, and drank in with relish his every state- 
ment and thirsted for more. His book would pass, 
even if the facts were overdrawn. There was a cer- 
tain foundation for them at the time, but a similar 
book to-day would be a libel on a prosperous and 


growing commonwealth. Yet, such things are some- 
times said now, and pictures of fifty years ago are 
not infrequently drawn as representing present con- 
ditions. In this way a great injustice has been done, 
and a limited public opinion has been formed which 
misjudges the people of New Mexico and classes 
them as undesirable citizens. The American people, 
however, are lovers of fair play; they also recognize 
truth and merit sooner or later, and, with these 
characteristics, they have arrived close to the time 
when they will do justice to New Mexico and allow 
her to take her stand upon an equal footing with 
her sister States. 


Critics and Criticisms. — Honor to the Pioneer. — Apoloiretic. 
Early Explorers. — Coronado.— Lieutenant Pike. — James Purs- 
ley.— Colonel Long and Dr. James. — Fremont. — Sage.— Park- 
man. — Ruxton. — Gilpin. — Hunters and Trappers.— Discovery of 
Gold. — Cherokee Indians. — Russell and Party.- Aurana, First 
Town. — Pike's Peak. — Rush of Gold Seekei-s.- Adventurers. 
Territory Organized. — Religion. — Scenery. — Climate. — Weather. 
Topography.— Roads.— Towns. — Bishop Miege in Denver.— Dis- 
trict Annexed to Dioees of Santa Fe. 

Tliere is something in our nature which makes 
us look for perfection wherever we go, and we expe- 
rience a feeling of disai^pointment when we do not 
find it. Somehow we class that expectation among 
our rights, and its lack of fulfillment is secretly re- 
sented as a sort of injustice. However, this does not 
prevent us from taking possession of what we find, 
but it disposes us to find fault with those who pre- 
pared the legacy for us because they did not leave us 
more. Instead of holding them in grateful remem- 
brance for what they did, we are prone to criticise 
them and depreciate their labors, and to conclude 
that the world is well-rid of such old fogies and back 
numbers, and out-of-date people whose longer stay 
would have been but to cumber the earth. What a 
pity we were not with them to give them the benefit 
of our superior knowledge! 

]\rany who come to Colorado today profess to be 
surprised at not finding fine churches and schools, 
and halls and other religious institutions in every 
parish on the same scale of magnificence and perfee- 


tion as in the older sections of the country where they 
lived in the East. They fail to consider that this is 
a new country, and that it is still well within the 
memory of the living when Colorado was the home 
of the wild beast and the wilder savage; when its 
mountains were unexplored fastnesses; when the 
most prolific product of its now fertile fields was the 
sage-bush and the cactus, its most settled inhabitants 
the owl, the rattlesnake and the prairie-dog, and 
when the sound of the saw and the hammer was not 
heard within hundreds of miles nor the whistle of the 
locomotive within a thousand miles of its borders. 
The industrial progress of Colorado in one genera- 
tion has been marvelous. We cannot say that all its 
desert is blossoming like the rose, or that it will ever 
do so, but the word marvelous, in the literal sense, is 
appropriate in this connection, and it will be found 
equally so when applied to the religious development 
of this portion of the West. 

To realize this progress we need but glance at 
the conditions prevailing in the earlier times, to 
weigh the material at hand and the means provided 
to shape it into its present form. We can then ap- 
preciate the character and labors of those men who 
drew order out of this chaos, and who leveled the 
mountains and filled up the valleys, and laid the 
foundations for themselves and others to build upon. 
These pioneers were less dainty, and so'metimes less 
cultured, than their successors, but for hard and 
effective work their equals are yet to be found. The 
early settler and the early missionary are brothers in 


honor, and we sliould not forget that the advantages 
whioh we possess over them, botli in a material and a 
spiritual sense, are the fruits of their labors, and 
nmst ever stand as their monuments. 

A volume might easily be written on the early 
days of the peopling of Colorado, and every page of 
it would be interesting reading. Only a rapid sketch 
within the limits of a ('hai)ter can be given here, for 
the scope of this book includes that subject only so far 
as it may be useful in giving an idea of the new field 
in which Father Machebeuf was to labor. 

We say "peopling," for in those days few 
thought of settl'uig. They came for immediate gain, 
and they expected to go away as soon as their object 
was attained — and of its attainment they had but lit- 
tle doubt. Tlie mines would not last forever, and the 
heritage of the soil was not thought worthy of consid- 
eration on "The Great American Desert." Even 
Father Machebeuf at first shared the general feeling, 
for he says: "Temporarily I am located at the foot 
of the Rocky ]\[ountains, but I do not know where I 
may be before I die." Few ever came to Colorado 
in the early years who did not hope soon to go again 
and leave it to its natural denizen — the Indian. 

All the country now known as Colorado was 
once claimed as S])anish territory. Spain's title to 
that portion of it lying south of the Arkansas river 
and west of the main range of the Rocky Afountains 
was never disputed until her Mexican colonies pro- 
claimed their independence; the remainder followed 
the changes incident to that vast tract now known as 
the Louisiana Purchase. 


Wliile belonging to Spain, this was practically 
an unknown land — only one attempt having been 
made to explore it, and that was without any perma- 
nent results. Coronado with his party of Spaniards 
and Indians crossed the mountains in a northeasterly 
course from the Rio del Norte in 1542 and reached 
the ^^ buffalo plains," going as far north as the for- 
tieth parallel in search of gold. He failed to find the 
precious metal in any of the streams encountered, 
and with his followers he returned to Mexico. This 
is the sum total of the recorded Spanish or Mexican 
explorations north of the Arkansas river in Colo- 

Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike seems to 
have been the first American to attempt an explora- 
tion of these regions. On November 15, 1806, he 
came in sight of the mountain peak wliich bears his 
name, but in his account Pike speaks of a man whom 
he met at Santa Fe, one James Pursley, of Bards- 
town, Ky., who, as a captive among the Indians, had 
visited the same regions before him, and had found 
gold in the headwaters of the Platte river. The Mex- 
icans had tried to find out from Pursley where he had 
discovered the gold, but he refused to disclose his 
secret to anyone but an American. 

Colonel S. H. Long and Dr. E. James explored 
the country in 1820. In 1843 Colonel John C. Fre- 
mont made his first trip through the Rocky Moun- 
tains of Colorado, and at about the same time Rufus 
B. Sage, with a party of trappers, spent a couple of 
seasons trapping along the streams on the eastern 


slope of the mountains. Sage mentions a settlement 
of whites and iialf-breeds on the Arkansas river 
about thirty miles above the mouth of the Fontaine- 
Qui-Bouille, and a trading post at the mouth of that 
stream ocoujHed by ten or twelve whites living with 
or married to ^lexioan women, and carrying on a 
thriving trade with the Indians. 

Parkman, in 1846, went tlirougli from Fort Lar- 
amie to "The Pueblo" on the Arkansas river, and 
spent some time at the trading post before returning 
East along the Arkansas to civilization. Ruxton 
was here in 1847, but none of these travelers and ex- 
plorers discovered anything to indicate that the coun- 
try would ever be made inhabitable by a race of civ- 
ilized people. 

William Gilpin also made extensive explorations 
of these regions, and, like Caleb and Joshua in the 
Promised Land, he found a great deal of good to say 
of the country. Many of his prophecies, which were 
considered at the time as but visionary flights of an 
exalted imagination, are now being literally fulfilled. 

Besides these passing visitors who have left us 
some account of their observations, there were, from 
the earliest times, hunters and trappers working 
along the streams for beaver and other peltry, but it 
is a question whether these as a whole should be 
counted among the civilized or not. Ruxton says of 
them : 

The trajipers of the Rocky Mountains beloiiij: to a ircnus 
more approximatinjf the primitive savagfe than perhaps any other 
class of civilized man. Their lives are being spent in the re- 
mote wilderness of the mountains, with no other companion than 


Nature herself, their habits and character assume a most sin- 
gular cast of simplicity minoled with ferocity, appearing to take 
their coloring from the scenes and objects which surround them. 
Knowing no wants save those of natiire, their sole care is to 
provide sufficient food to support life, and the necessary cloth- 
ing to protect them from the rigorous climate. This, with the 
assistance of their trusty rifles, they are generally able to effect, 
but sometimes at the expense of gi-eat peril and hardship. 
When engaged in their avocation, the natural instinct of primi- 
tive man is ever alive, for the purpose of guarding against 
danger and the provision of necessai^y food. 

Keen observers of nature, they rival the beasts of prey in 
discovering the haunts and habits of game, and in their skill 
and cunning in capturing it. Constantly exposed to perils of 
all kinds, they become callous to any feeling of danger, and 
destroy human as well as animal life with as little scruple and 
as freely as they expose their own. Of laws, human and divine, 
they neither know nor care to know. Their wish is their law, 
and to attain it they do not scruple as to ways and means. 
Firm friends and bitter enemies, with them it is "a, word and a 
blow," and the blow often first. They have good qualities, but 
they are those of the animal; and people fond of giving hard 
names call them revengeful, bloodthirsty, drunkards (when the 
wherewithal is to be had), gamblers, regardless of the laws of 
meum and tuum — in fact, ''White Indians." However, there 
are exceptions, and I have met honest mountain men. Their 
animal qualities, however, are undeniable. Strong, active, 
hardy as bears, daring, expert in the use of their weapons, they 
are just what uncivilized man might be supposed to be in a brute 
state, depending upon his instinct for his support of life. Not 
a hole or a corner in the vast wilderness of the "Far West" but 
has been ransacked by these hardy men. From the Mississippi 
to the mouth of the Colorado of the West, from the frozen re- 
gions of the North to the Gila in Mexico, the beaver hunter has 
set his traps in every creek and stream. All of this vast coun- 
try, but for the daring enterprise of these men, wovdd be even 
now a terra incognita to geographers, as indeed a great portion 
of it still is; but there is not an acre that has not been passed 
and repassed by the trappers in their perilous excursions. The 
mountains and streams still retain the names assigned to them 
by the rude hunters; and these alone are the hardy pioneers 
who have paved the way for the settlement of the western 


Again we are obliged to take issue with Mr. 
Ruxton and modify bis general statement. When 
we single out the exceptions to bis description we 
have the entire bone and sinew of the trapping in- 
dustry. There remains to fit the description only 
the lower element — the irresponsible, migratory and 
careless class of adventurers, and Kuxton need not 
have gone beyond the confines of London to make 
application of his remarkably vivid picture. Among 
the exceptions we meet such men as Carson, Gerry, 
Lupton, Bent, Boone, St. Vrain, Wootten, Head and 
others, to whom civilization was not strange or dis- 
tasteful when it came upon them with the advancing 
tide. It is true that they did not all have drawing- 
room manners, but Bent was sufficiently cultured to 
fill the office of Governor of New Mexico, and Lafay- 
ette Head was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the 
great State of Colorado. Neither will the honor of 
these men suffer in comparison with that of men of a 
later civilization. \Vlien some of the later aristoc- 
racy complained that certain white men shocked 
their refined souls by continuing to live with their 
Indian wives, Elbridge Gerry, a grandson of a signer 
of the Declaration of Independence, replied: "I mar- 
ried my wife when there wasn't a white woman with- 
in a thousand miles of me, and when I never expected 
to see a white woman here. My wife is as true and 
my children as dear to me as those of any man alive, 
and I will die a thousand deaths before T will desert 

The causes, however, which gave rise to the ao- 



tual settlement of Colorado are of much more recent 
date. It is said that a party of Cherokee Indians, 
going to California in 1852, discovered gold on Ral- 
ston Creek, a small tributary of the Vasquez Fork 
(now Clear Creek) of the Platte river, a few miles 
west of the present site of Denver, while making 
their way from the Arkansas river to the overland 
route at Fort Laramie, Upon their return trip, in 
1857, they renewed their search and gathered some 
small quantities of gold which they exhibited on their 
way home through Kansas. 

It seems that they must have gone all the way to 
their homes in Georgia and Florida, for the first to 
seek the new gold country was a party of Georgians 
under the leadership of Green Eussell. These 
started from Auraria in Dawson county, adjoining 
Cherokee county in Georgia, on February 9, 1858. 
They arrived at their destination about June 1st, and 
immediately began their search for gold. Some par- 
ties from Kansas were also exploring their way up 
the Arkansas river to the mountains, and northward 
towards the Platte. 

It was some time before fortune favored any of 
them, but when almost discouraged Russell hit upon 
a spot in the sands of a small dry creek which falls 
into the Platte about seven miles above the mouth 
of Cherry Creek which yielded gold in such quanti- 
ties as to raise their hopes and enthusiasm to the 
highest pitch. News of their success soon reached 
Kansas and the East, and other parties were rapidly 
formed and set out for the new fields. 


The name of this locality was called Placer 
Camp, but new and more promising discoveries were 
made at the mouth of Cherry Creek, and on Nov. 4, 
1858, a townsite was platted at that point and the 
name of Auraria was given to it by the Georgians, 
after their native town. 

The general impression now is that what is 
known as West Denver was originally Auraria, but 
Ovando J. Hollister, who came to Denver about June 
1, I860, and who, only seven years later, wrote what 
is called "the best historical sketch of the State ever 
published," has this to say about Auraria: 

On the 31st of October ten inches of snow fell abont the 

mouth of Platte Canon. Next day the adventurers were con- 
fined to their camps, and true to their instincts began to talk 
politics and town sites. By the 4th of November a town-plat 
had been surveyed on the west side of the Platte opposite the 
mouth of Cherry Creek, by William Foster, and christened 
"Auraria" by Dr. Russell, whose party had come from a town 
of that name in Georgia. This region was then within the 
bounds of Kansas, and a county was defined and called "Arap- 
ahoe," after the neighboring tribe of Indians. An election was 
held on the 6th of November, there being abt-ut two hundred 
inhabitants in the new place, "six hundred miles from 
nowhere," as they designated it. 

As this question is not essential to this history, 
we simply note the discrepancy and leave it to others 
to disentangle the facts. Our own opinion is that 
Hollister was mistaken. 

Shortly afterwards another town was laid out 
on the east side of the Platte and below the mouth of 
Cherry Creek by men from Lawrence, Kansas, and 
called St. Charles. That winter the "Denver 
Town Company" was formed and bought out the in- 


terests of the St. Charles company, added more 
ground and named their town in honor of General 
Denver, who was then governor of Kansas Territory. 
The town of Auraria continued as a separate corpor- 
ation for some time, but was eventually consolidated 
with the new town, and from that time the united 
coi-porations bore the name of Denver City. In 
passing it may be remarked that there was a tendency 
in those days to designate the new camps with the 
high sounding title of '' cities." A change has come 
over them since then — many of those "cities" have 
gone out of existence, and all of the others which 
could conveniently drop the title have done so. 

The name of Denver City, however, designated 
but one spot, and the geography of the New West 
was so little known that few knew the location of that 
spot. In the beginning the gold-hunters set out for 
Pike's Peak, and the entire world soon accepted this 
term as a general designation of all the country for 
a hundred miles around. 

The spring and summer of 1859 saw thousands 
of fortune-hunters coming to Pike's Peak and scat- 
tering out in all directions to look for the precious 
metal. It was found in many places, and at each 
place a new town, or ''city," would spring up like a 
mushroom in one night. All the streams forming 
the headwaters of the Platte and Arkansas rivers 
were found to bear gold, and the mountains along 
them to be rich in mineral. News of this, exagger- 
ated in every form, brought an enormous rush from 
all parts of the country, and soon the mountains 


and plains for a hundred miles to the west and south 
of Denver City were alive with people. The roads 
were literally lined with the coming throngs, and 
with many also returning in disgust, with their hopes 
broken and their high expectations disappointed. 
Those who ex})ected to gather gold by the shovelfuls, 
or quarry it from the mountain sides, soon betook 
themselves to their homeward way, and they spread 
reports as untrue in condemnation as the wildest 
stories were untrue in praise. There was gold, and 
plenty of it, but it could be gotten only slowly and 
by hard work. Some thought that the gold was got- 
ten by means of a sort of flatboat provided with 
knives on the bottom, and this was taken to the top 
of Pike's Peak and allowed to slide down the moun- 
tain while the knives would shave off the gold and 
fill the boat. Some brought a supx^ly of grain sacks 
all the way from Council Bluffs, which, they said, 
they intended to fill if it took all summer. 

Those who c^me were not all legitimate miners 
by any means, nor wore they animated by legitimate 
intentions. Many were mere fortune-hunters in the 
worst sense of the word, and not a few were of the 
criminal classes, to whom the far-off mining reg- 
ions opened up a new field of adventure, where, too, 
they would find safe refuges for past crimes and 
greater prospect of immunity for future lawless- 

Necessity forced the honest and order-loving 
portion of this miscellaneous agglomeration of men 
to organize for protection, and to establish local 


laws with officers and courts to enforce them, yet in 
spite of all this, the first few years were years of 
continual excitement, with a record of crime that 
would be appalling under any other conditions. 
Saloons, gambling houses, dance halls and worse 
were the order of the day and of the night in every 
camp, so that it might be said as truly of the entire 
district as was said of a later camp by one of that 
modern class of literati — the miner's poet: 

"It was always day in the daytime, 
And there was no night in Creede." 

Some one put it very fairly when he said, * ' game 
was plenty in those days, and consisted of bear, deer, 
antelope, jack-rabbits, monte, faro and seven-up." 

Order grew with organization, and justice was 
administered by the People's and Miners' Courts un- 
til life and property were comparatively safe. At 
the time that the County of Arapahoe was formed, 
a Territory was planned and called Jefferson, but 
the Territorial organization was not recognized by 
Congress until Feb. 26, 1861. On that date a bill 
was passed authorizing the new Territory of Colo- 
rado, a name that was suggested by General Denver. 

The question of religion did not enter far into 
the calculations of the gold-seekers of Pike's Peak. 
They came to find a fortune, not to seek religion — 
that could be done at home, and they were all going 
home as soon as their fortune was made! The ''de- 
vout sex" was but poorly represented during those 
first years, and a majority of the women who came 
first were anything but devout. As late as 1861, 


when Colorado was under its permanent govern- 
ment, when order reigned and "Society" was begin- 
ning to form, the first Territorial census numbered 
4,484 females of all ages in a total population of 

As a matter of course, there was the usual num- 
ber of Catholics in the oncoming crowds, some good, 
some bad, and many indifferent, but all, perhaps, as 
thoughtless as the rest of everything except the yel- 
low metal. As soon as they got their share of that 
they would go back to "God's country." They knew, 
too, that the priest would make his way there before 
long, and they would have the benefit of his minis- 
trations if the favors of fortune should be delayed 
beyond the term of their present hopes. 

It was not long before the ministers of the sects 
c^me, and some of them began to organize their par- 
ticular denominations and preach to them in halls 
and other phices; some of them organized union 
services and gathered together members of several 
denominations, and some began to preach on vacant 
lots and street corners to all who would listen. Sun- 
day at first was not different from other days, but 
gradually a distinction was made by many of the 
miners, who set it aside as the day for washing their 
dirty clothes. 

The scenery has been so often and so enthusias- 
tically described that the powers of language have 
been exhausted; this subject is of far greater inter- 
est to the tourists of today than it was to the pioneer 
of 1858, and the question does not suffer for lack of 


The climate was of more importance, and 
brought a new experience to everybody. The days 
were filled with sunshine, not too hot, and the nights 
were delightfully cool. The air was pure and clear, 
but the pilgrim discovered a new quality in it which, 
he said, filled him ' * plumb full of short wind. ' ' Its 
rarity, purity and dryness made it a preventative 
against some diseases and a remedy for others, but 
the dreaded pneumonia, brought on by exposure or 
dissipation, and aggravated by lack of care, seemed 
more deadly here than elsewhere. The death of many 
was pronounced by the doctors to have been caused 
by "too much whiskey, and not enough blanket." 
If a man escaped this disease his prospects for a long 
life were good, unless the other fellow was more 
ready with his "shooting irons." 

The weather was one of those things which one 
could never count upon with certainty, and it is 
somewhat of a puzzle yet to the experienced calcula- 
tors of Uncle Sam. It was never just what was ex- 
pected, but, apart from an occasional season of 
winds, it was a pleasant surprise to the new-comers. 
Most of those who came in 1858 feared to spend the 
winter in the mines, but all could not get away, and 
those who remained gave such favorable reports of 
the mild and balmy weather during nearly the entire 
winter, that the erroneous notions of harsh winters 
in the mountains were corrected, and no one left 
thereafter on that account. 

Topographically, there is little to say that is 
new, for there is not much change in that way. It 


lias been said that Colorado sits upon the Rocky 
Mountains like a man astride upon a horse. The 
illustration is only partially true, for, although the 
State is cut in halves by the Continental Divide, the 
western portion of it is broken by mountains 
throughout its whole extent. Enclosed by these 
mountains there are the Parks, and other valleys of 
greater or less expanse, but the man should rather 
sit ** lady- fashion," and even then he would have a 
decidedly rough seat. 

Yet topographically there is some change, for 
then there were no railroads with their palace cars, 
nor even wagon roads with their gradual slopes and 
graded beds. The best was the Indian trail, and the 
worst was avoided by the mountain goats as too 
laborious. The mountain torrent was the pioneer 
road builder, and its right of way was not subject to 
dispute. If there was additional room between the 
abutting mountains or the torn sides of the gorges, 
man might utilize it. If there was not room he might 
wade the stream where the current was not too deep 
and strong, otherwise he must blast a passage from 
the bordering steeps, or make his way over the moun- 
tain heights among the rough and jagged rocks, and 
by roundabout ways come back to his watery guide. 
The making of roads was the work of years, and 
when made they were so difficult and dangerous that 
it was the custom in many i)Iaces to double, treble and 
quadruple the teams to haul their loads to the top of 
the hill, and to make the descent on the other side 
safer, the teamsters stayed their wagons with ropes 


attached to trees as to a capstan, or fastened a fallen 
tree to a wagon to act as a sort of counter-force while 
dragging them both down the steep incline. An np- 
set, a smashup, and a wagon gone to the bottom a 
ruin, was an ordinary occurrence, and for many years 
there might be seen immense boilers and other heavy 
pieces of machinery, which had cost from 15 to 20 
cents a pound for transportation from the States, 
rusting and decaying where they had fallen while in 

Gold was found in all sorts of places, and no 
matter how difficult of access the place might be, all 
manner of supplies must be brought in, and that nat- 
ural mountain climber — the burro — did not come 
with the pioneers, but was a later importation. 

The best and most traveled of the mountain 
roads was the one leading from Denver City to Cen- 
tral City, and a traveler going over it on June 7, 
1860, thus describes it as he found it : 

As you approach the great barrier which forms the shore 
line you discover that it has a serious look. It is cloven from 
top to bottom by numerous escaping mountain streams, but you 
can see no chance of ingress. At last, when you get within 
less than ten yards of the wall, you distinguish the mouth of a 
deep cut opening shortly to the left instead of befoi-e you. You 
enter and cross a little stream fifty-eight times in the course of 
eight miles. Sometimes you travel in the bed of it for rods 
together. Then you climb and descend a sharp ridge, and strik- 
ing another brook, follow it four miles to the top of another 
ridge. Down, across, and up a third stream, five or six miles 
to the top of ridge the third. Down a pretty steep hill four 
miles, across a dashing creek and up a gulch that rises four 
hundred feet to the mile. Such was the old road to Central 
City — Nevada and Missouri Cities being each a mile farther up 
the forks of the gulch, with an ascent of eight or ten hundred 


In the early days one met the Indians on these 
roads, making their trips between the mountain parks 
and the plains. An occasional footpad was also en- 
countered, and even the bear and the mountain lion 
did not disdain the use of the roads. It was said that 
these animals rarely molested a man unless attacked 
first, or when they were hungry. They were ani- 
mals, however, which it was best not to trust, but to 
judge them to be, like the Indians, always hungry. 

Towns, or camps, were established in innumera- 
ble places among the mountains — at Niwot, Left- 
Hand, Deadwood, Magnolia, Gold Hill and Caribou 
in the north; at Central City, Mountain City, Mis- 
souri City, Nevada City, Black Hawk, Lake, Russell, 
Twelve Mile and Gold Dirt in the west ; and south of 
these were Grass Valley, Jackson, Idaho, Spanish 
Bar, Fall River, Montana, Mill City, Downieville, 
Empire, Georgetown and Elizabeth. In the South 
Park, or Bayou Salada of the early trappers, were 
Hamilton, Jefferson, Montgomery, Alma, Fairplay, 
Tarryall and Buckskin Joe, and farther to the south 
and west were Texas Creek, Hardscrabble, Trout 
Creek, Cottonwood, Granite, Cache Creek, Malta, 
California Gulch, Breckenridge, Chihuahua, Monte- 
zuma and Argentine. At the base of the mountains, 
or a short distance away, were Cache-a-la-Poudre, 
Boulder City, South Boulder, Golden City, Denver 
City, Colorado City, Canon City, Pueblo, and a few 
of the older settlements then being formed. 

These were the principal camps, but others were 
scattered at different points on both sides of the main 


range and along the streams leading away both east 
and west. Many of these have since ceased to exist, 
but they were lively camps in their day and each had 
a respectable quota of inhabitants. All these inhab- 
itants were human beings and had immortal souls. 
Many of them realized this and felt that they should 
save their souls, but who was to help them in the 
work of saving them? Until towards the close of the 
year 1860 the Catholics among them might have 
asked themselves that question without receiving any 

Pike's Peak was within the limits of the Vicari- 
ate Apostolic of the Territory East of the Rocky 
Mountains. The spiritual head of this vicariate was 
the Right. Rev. John B. Miege, who resided at Leav- 
enworth, Kansas, more than six hundred miles dis- 
tant. Between Leavenworth and the gold fields there 
was nothing but the immense stretch of arid plains, 
over which the Indians roamed at will. Across these 
plains the gold-seekers were daily leaving Leaven- 
worth, as well as other points on the Missouri river, 
for their long pilgrimage to Pike's Peak, and in the 
spring of 1860, Bishop Miege set out on the same pil- 
grimage, but it was for the purpose of investigating 
religious conditions in that distant part of his juris- 
diction. He went as far as Denver City, and found 
the conditions as we have just described. He saw 
that there was work here for many priests, and he 
had none to spare for the task; he could only console 
his exiled children and give them hope for the future. 

At Denver City he consulted with the prominent 

V-i^ ^. y^cy^-^^'j 


Catholics, and then called all together in a general 
meeting to take counsel with them and decide upon 
a plan of action. The Denver Town Company made 
him a donation of a plot of ground for a church, and 
with this encouragement it was decided to put up a 
churcli building. The Bishop gave them a simple 
plan and authorized a conmiittee to collect funds and 
proceed with the work. He then returned to his 
home to devise some means of procuring for the 
Catholics of Pike's Peak the necessary ministrations 
of their clergy. 

Denver City was nearer to the settlements of 
New Mexico than it was to Leavenworth, and its spir- 
itual welfare might be provided for from Santa Fe. 
Bishop Miege thought of this, and of his own inabil- 
ity to send priests to those far-off regions which were 
in pressing need of them. He consulted with the 
Archbishop of St. Louis and the other Bishops of 
the Province, and they concluded to attach the Pike's 
Peak country tem])()7arily to the Diocese of Santa 
Fe, and to write to Kome in order to have their action 
confirmed and the transfer made permanent. In the 
meantime they advised Bishop Lamy of their action, 
and thus was laid u])on this prelate the additional 
burden of providing foi- the spiritual needs of the 
Catholics of Pike's Peak. 


News in New Mexico.— Appointment for Pike's Peak. — 
Goes to Denver City with Father Raverdy. — Condition at Den- 
ver City.— Central City. — Mines and Mining Camps.— Instabil- 
ity of Population. — Mission Trips. — Movable Home and Travel- 
ing Chapel.— Many Permanent Churches Impossible.— First 
Mission Chapel at Central City.— His Eighth Trip.— Falls Sick. 
—Father Ussel, a Messenger from Bishop Lamy.— Goes to New 
Mexico. — Charitj^ of the Mexicans.— War in New Mexico. 

The friends of Father Machebeuf, writing from 
France, asked him if he was so completely cut off 
from civilization that he did not hear of what was go- 
ing on in the world. In answer he told them that he 
received the papers regularly from the United 
States and from France, and, although there was 
no telegraph to Santa Fe and the mails were slow, 
the echo of all great events finally reached him in 
New Mexico. At that time there was no direct regu- 
lar means of communication established between 
Santa Fe and Pike's Peak, but the eastern news- 
papers told the story of the discovery of gold and of 
the rush of people to the new mines, and in this way 
the news became known to Father Machebeuf. He 
said that he first heard of Pike's Peak when he was 
in Arizona. He heard of it as he heard of the war 
in Italy, and with less interest, for his countrymen, 
the French, were waging the war, while Pike's Peak 
and its excitement were separated from him by the 
dividing lines of races and tongues. He heard of it 
as a matter of news and as easily forgot it. 

He was still at Santa Fe, entirely oblivious of 


tlie destiny wliicli was shaping itself for him, when 
Bishop Lamy received the information that this new 
country was committed to his care. The Bishop 
sought out Father Machebeuf and together they con- 
sidered the matter of sending one or two priests into 
the new acquisition. The solution of the question 
was not easy until Bishop Lamy said: "I see but 
one thing to be done. You have been complaining 
because I sent for you and have kept you here at 
Santa Fe, — now, don't you see tliat there was some- 
thing providential in all this? I do not like to part 
with you, but you are the only one I have to send, 
and you are the very man for Pike's Peak." 

In these simple words Father Machebeuf re- 
ceived his mission, and in as few words he accepted 
it. "Very well," said he, *'I will go! Give me an- 
other priest, some money for our expenses, and we 
will be ready for the road in twenty-four hours." 

It was not done so hastily, but it might have 
been, as far as Father Machebeuf was concerned, for 
he was not overburdened with the world's goods and 
had few preparations to make. Their actual prepar- 
ations consisted of a wagon to carry the necessaries 
of church service in his new field where he might 
have several chapels, a few personal effects, blankets 
and buffalo robes for their bedding, and provisions 
for the journey. This, with a lighter conveyance 
called an ambulance, for their personal comfort and 
for later travel among the mines, was the prepara- 
tion, and four mules, including the span of bay mules, 
furnished the powers of locomotion. 


Thus provided, Father Machebeuf left Santa Fe 
towards the end of September, 1860, with the Rev. 
John B. Raverdy who was ordained only a few 
months before. He chose Father Raverdy on account 
of his youth, his good health and his steady persever- 
ing qualities, all of which would be necessary in the 
rough life they would be obliged to lead in the new 
mission. Father Raverdy was ignorant of English, 
but in this he was not worse off than most of the 
priests of New Mexico. His few months of exper- 
ience had given him a working knowledge of Span- 
ish, which would be of use in the Mexican settlements 
which were growing up in the southern part of the 
new Territory. The older parish of Conejos and its 
outlying stations along the Costilla river were re- 
served by Bishop Lamy to be cared for from Santa 
Fe, but the remainder of the new Territory was con- 
fided to Father Machebeuf that he might establish 
parishes and provide for new churches wherever they 
might be needed. He retained his office of Vicar 
General to Bishop Lamy, but in addition he was 
given special powers of administration within the 
territory over which he had been sent to preside. 

The two missionaries made their way north 
from Santa Fe, camping out when they got beyond 
the limits of the settlements, and saying mass regu- 
larly in camp when the weather permitted until they 
reached the outposts of civilization again on the 
north. At Pueblo they found a few Mexican fam- 
ilies, who had wandered away from their brethren 
farther south and now saw a priest for the first 


time in years. Marriages here were to be blessed 
and children baptized, and then they moved toward 
Pike's Peak which was in plain sight before them. 
Their next stop was at Colorado City where they 
first met the goldseekers of Pike's Peak. Here, in 
the actual shadow of Pike's Peak, they set up their 
tent for the night, and here they offered the Clean 
Oblation for the first time in the history of the 
American settlement of Colorado. 

Denver City was reached about October 20, and 
pitching their tent on a vacant lot they took their 
first survej^ of their future home town and Father 
Maehebeuf 's future episcopal city. They found Den- 
ver a town of about 3000 people of various national- 
ity and description. There were perhaps ten Catho- 
lic families, a number of men more or less perma- 
nent, and a passing stream of others that raised the 
number of their flock to about 200 souls. The church 
had been begun, but work on it had stopped before 
it was much more than a foundation, for lack of 
funds and of any responsible head. 

The first work of Father Maehebeuf was to re- 
sume the building of the church, and for this he 
added his own little fund to whatever he could gather 
from the people. In the meanwhile he held services 
in private houses and halls wherever he found a con- 
venient place, and sought to get acquainted with the 
individual members of his congregation. 

The church was a plain brick structure, 30x46, 
and by hard work he had it under roof for Christmas, 
and the first mass in it was the Midnight Mass sung 


by Father Eaverdy. It was not plastered and was 
without windows, but the mountain evergreens hid 
the rough walls and added a little decoration, and 
canvas kept out some of the cold wind from the win- 
dows without obstructing the light. Almost in this 
condition it served for more than a year, while 
Father Machebeuf was laboring to give all an occa- 
sional opportunity of hearing mass, and preparing 
in other places temporary shelters which might at a 
later period be replaced by buildings deserving the 
name of churches. To his unfinished church at Den- 
ver he built a rear annex, a wooden shed 12x30, and 
this served as the first home for himself and his 
assistant. A little later he added a few more rooms 
to this, and thus it remained his residence for ten 

At Santa Fe Bishop Lamy once said to Father 
Machebeuf : ' ' Do you remember that when we were 
in Ohio we used to long for the chance of getting be- 
yond the lines of our narrow parishes to do mission- 
ary work on a grand scale f Well, our wishes have 
been so fully granted here in the West that there is 
nothing left to be desired in that way. There is 
nothing beyond us now but to leave civilization and 
travel with a band of roving Indians." Ah! but 
there was something beyond them, and Father 
Machebeuf found it when he came to Colorado. In 
New Mexico all the time that he could spare from 
his other duties was given to missionary labor, but in 
Colorado he had no other duties, and all of his labors 
were of a missionary character. Waiting only to ar- 


range the preliminaries of a parish organization at 
Denver, he left that place to the care of Father Rav- 
erdy and set out on a tour of the principal mining 

His first trip was westward to Arapahoe City, 
Golden City, and thence to Central City and the 
populous camps in the vicinity, forty miles from Den- 
ver in the heart of the mountains. Father Mache- 
beuf was never slow in looking for his people, and 
he was not long at Central City before he had the 
nucleous of a congregation around him. Arrange- 
ments were made for a Sunday mass in the hall of 
the Sons of Malta, where about 200 men gathered 
and a few women. Altogether there were not many 
women in the district at that time. The first white 
woman to enter the district came June 1, 1859. She 
was an excellent woman and a practical Catholic. 
Her name was Mary York, and she was married by 
Father Machebeuf on December 30, 1860, to William 
Z. Cozzens, the sheriff of the county. This was the 
first marriage performed by Father Machebeuf in 
northern Colorado. Marriages were not frequent 
then, but the reason of this was not aversion to mar- 
ried life, nor dread of domestic infelicity — there 
were no divorces then — , but sheer lack of opportun- 
ity. A writer at that time fitly describes the situation 
when after speaking of the rich mines, the newly- 
made fortunes, the glowing prospects, etc., he says: 
"But these things make a poor Christmas after all. 
One would rather see a row of little stockings care- 
fully arranged about the fire than to hear of these 


old matter-of-fact affairs. Big red apples, and red 
cheeks, and bright eyes will occur to a fellow in spite 
of himself on such occasions as this (Christmas Eve). 
Don 't you think we could raise an immigrant aid so- 
ciety for girls'? Colorado needs a thousand to-day, 
and by New Years a thousand more might find snug 
homes, warm hearts, and strong arms to keep them 
till death." 

At subsequent visits Father Machebeuf said 
mass in various buildings, but principally in Had- 
ley's Hall, a large upper room in a two-story log 
building at Mountain City. This was the largest hall 
in the place, and it was used for public gatherings of 
different kinds. It was fitted up with a rude stage 
that made it sought for as a place for theatrical 
representations, balls, etc., and the sounds of revelry 
had sometimes scarcely died away in it when Father 
Machebeuf came to set up his altar. 

Other camps were visited in order until Father 
Machebeuf learned the location of most of his peo- 
ple, and then he made systematic tours, some of 
which lasted for weeks at a time and included as 
many camps as possible in a single continuous trip. 

Father Raverdy took an occasional turn at mis- 
sionary work, but at first he visited only the Mexi- 
can settlements at Pueblo, and on the San Carlos and 
Huerfano rivers. Later, when he became familiar 
with English, he relieved Father Machebeuf to a 
certain extent, but the principal part of the mission- 
ary work was always the portion of Father Mache- 


Milling operations have been of two sorts in 
Colorado as tiiere were two classes of mines. There 
were the placer mines and the lode mines. In the 
first the gold lay in the sands and gravel along the 
streams, and in the second it was in upright veins 
and crevices which penetrated the mountains to un- 
known depths between walls of solid rock. The gold 
in the placer mines was in the natural state, and was 
recovered by merely washing the sands away. In 
the lode mines it was in chemical combination with 
other minerals and yielded only to the smelting pro- 
cess. These last gave promise of permanency, but 
when the sands were thoroughly washed over their 
productiveness was exhausted. They were more eas- 
ily worked, requiring only a pick and shovel, and a 
pan to wash the dirt or a few boards for a sluice, and 
they were often very rich. It was easy to get up a 
mining excitement, and when new mines were re- 
ported there was immediately a stampede of miners 
to the new diggings. Towns grew up in a day, and 
if the fields did not prove remunerative, they were 
as rapidly abandoned. The best of the placer mines, 
where small fortunes were sometimes made in a 
week, were doomed sooner or later to exhaustion and 

In 1860 most of the mining was done by the 
washing process. Five years later this sort of min- 
ing had practically ceased, or become only a local 
feature. Like the washings of California they were 
rich but short-lived, but unlike California, Colorado 
possessed in greater abundance and richness the 


sources of all these surface mines, in the inexhausti- 
ble lodes that seamed its mountains throughout its 
whole extent. To work these latter mines profitably 
capital, system and science were necessary. The 
capital came from the very start, but system and 
science were lacking, and, in consequence, after the 
decline of placer mining there was a season of dis- 
couragement in the mining business, and Colorado 
lost heavily in population, in prosperity and in fame. 

Another reason for the instability of the popu- 
lation was the disappointment following the dispell- 
ing of illusions. Almost every man who came to 
Pike's Peak in the early days hoped to find a gold 
mine for himself. Many discovered their error early 
and went away at once. Others clung longer to the 
hope and rushed from place to place, but the lucky 
ones were necessarily few. The great majority were 
forced to work for wages, which, however, were good, 
averaging five dollars a day, but that seemed only a 
pittance to men who had hoped for thousands, and it 
left them always ready to start out when the next 
rainbow of fortune appeared, for surely this time 
they would find the end of it and discover the fabled 
pot of gold. 

These conditions made it impossible for Father 
Machebeuf to organize many parishes, or even to at- 
tempt the building of mission chapels, which, in 
many cases, would have to be abandoned almost as 
soon as they were built, but they made his work es- 
pecially heavy in following the people to each new 
camp while not abandoning those who remained be- 


hind in the old ones. Each fresh trip for him was 
longer than the last, and a single trip was sufficient 
only for one section. Thus, a trip in the Boulder 
section would mean Gold Hill, Caribou, Ward Dis- 
trict, and might be extended as far as Cache-a-la- 
Poudre. A trip to the camps around Central City 
would include Fall River, Spanish Bar and adjacent 
districts, and a trip to the South Park meant the 
Tarryall district with Buckskin Joe, Fairplay, etc., 
and a possible run over the range into Breckenridge, 
or it might be diverted around by Trout Creek and 
up the Arkansas through various cam])s to Cache 
Creek, Dayton, and the Colorado, Iowa and Cali- 
fornia gulches, and even beyond. Then again, there 
were the trips towards the south to Colorado City, 
Pueblo, Canon City and the Mexican settlements. 
These were but a few of Father Machebeuf 's trips, 
but they serve to show the nature of his work and 
the many calls upon his time. 

For those trips Father Machebeuf had to pro- 
vide his own means of travel. He generally gave up 
horseback riding and used his heavy buggy. It was 
of a peculiar shape, with square top, side curtains, 
a half curtain in front to be let down in cases of 
storms, and a rack behind for heavy luggage. It 
was not long before it was known in every camp, and 
the sight of it was sufficient notice to the people that 
the priest had come. Stowed away in this he carried 
his vestments for mass, his bedding, grain for his 
horses, his own provisions and his frying pan and 
coffee pot. It was a movable home, and it made 


him independent of hotel accommodations and free 
to stop where night overtook him. It was also a 
movable church for him, and many a time, for want 
of any other roof, he set up his little altar on the 
rack at the rear of this buggy and offered the Holy 
Sacrifice under the dome of heaven. It was the prim- 
itive chapel car, — less perfect than its modern suc- 
cessor in non-essentials but more perfect in the es- 

From all this we can see that the times and 
places were not generally favorable for church build- 
ing, yet Father Machebeuf was not altogether idle in 
that way. He kept his eye open for the main chance, 
and where prospects were good for a permanent 
town he began his preparations early for a church. 
We have seen that he had a roof over the Lord at 
Denver, and at Central City he outstripped all the 
ministers, although they had the advantage in time, 
and was the first in the entire district to possess a 
church building. 

He urged the matter upon his people at each 
visit, but nothing was done until he resorted to heroic 
measures. One Sunday at the close of the mass he 
had the doors locked and the keys brought to him at 
the altar. Then he declared that no one would be 
permitted to leave the hall until the question of a 
church was settled. The first man to respond with 
a donation was John B. Fitzpatrick, a mine superin- 
tendent and a practical Catholic. Others followed, 
and in a short time the possession of a church of 
their own was assured. In a few days a two-story 


frame house was bought and men were set to work 
fitting it up as a church and a residence for a priest. 
Father Machebeuf gives us an idea of his work 
in a letter written to his brother on the first of Sep- 
tember, 1861. He says: 

Besides the principal parish, established at Denver, w*t 
have begun another in the center of the mountains forty miles 
from here at a place called Central Citj'. Next Sunday I shall 
go there and say mass for the fii"st time in our temporarj' 
church. After a few days there I shall set out on my eighth 
trip across the South and Middle Parks. Although I have to 
cross the highest range of mountains several times to visit our 
poor Catholics, who are almost buried alive in the depths of the 
mines, I have alwa>"s preserved my good health. Providence 
has given me strength in proportion to my work. 

In crossing the Snowy Range I can see through the gorges 
far off into the Territory of Utah where the Mormons live, and 
in my trips through the parks and to California Gulch I often 
sleep under the stars, and sometimes in the midst of the snow — 
I did this last July— but, thanks to God, I sleep as soundly there 
as upon a feather bed. I shall return only at the end of Sep- 
tember, to pass a few^ days at Denver and Central City, and 
then, in October T shall go to Santa Fe, Albuquerque, etc., in 
New Mexico, to secure a supply of church goods and mass wine, 
and I hope to be back again in Denver for Christmas. 

Father Machebeuf speaks very liglitly and 
prosaically of these trips. It is true that he told us 
years ago that he was no poet, but at least he might 
tell us that California Gulch was 170 miles from Den- 
ver, that there were at one time 5000 people in it, 
that there were many other gulches of almost equal 
importance, and that his side trips sometimes nearly 
doubled his mileage. Of his sjiecial sick-calls he says 
nothing. We can .judge of them from what we know 
of missionary countries in general, at least from 
the near-by camps, but from all accounts they were 


few to the district camps; most people died as they 
lived, as a priest could not reach them upon a sud- 
den call, and it is to be hoped they lived as they 
would wish to die. 

There is a limit to the endurance of the strong- 
est man, and in this trip Father Machebeuf reached 
the end of his forces. He did not measure his 
strength, and, as we have seen, did not spare himself. 
On this trip he was taken sick, and making his way 
back to Denver as best he could, he lay for nearly 
two months ill of typhoid fever. Writing to his 
brother in the following January from New Mexico 
he says : 

Last September, while among the highest mountains at 
California Gulch, where the range is alwaj^ covered with snow, 
I fell sick of the mountain fever, and T was two months without 
being able to say mass. There is no mail between Denver and 
Santa Fe, but Bishop Lamy heard fi-om some people that I was 
sick, and from others that I was dead. Not knowing which to 
believe he sent Father Ussel to find out, but when he came I 
was up and walking about in my garden with the help of a cane. 
I kept Father Ussel for two weeks, and when I was able to 
travel I went with him to Santa Fe. I spent the greater part, 
of the month of December at Albuquerque, where the care and 
good old wine of Father Paulet contributed not a little to the 
re-establishment of my forces. Thanks be to God, I am now 
as well as ever. My church in Denver is not yet plastered but 
we have been using it for a year. 

Father Ussel who was his traveling companion 
on this visit to New Mexico wrote an account of the 
trip, and we condense from his interesting notes the 
history of Father Machebeuf 's share in it. 

Late in the fall of 1861, when I was pastor of Taos in 
New Mexico, I received a letter from Bishop Lamy stating 
that Father Machebeuf was very sick at Denver, and, as he 


could not go to Denver himself, he wished me to go, and, if 
possible, bring Father Machebeuf back with me to Santa Fe. 

Taking a boy with nie I set out on horseback for ray three- 
hundred-mile ride. There were no railroads, or even coaches in 
those parts at that time, and people thoujiht no more of a trip 
of that length on horseback than they do now of the same dis- 
tance by rail, and there was less grumbling about it. 

In due time I reached Denver, and found Father Machebeuf 
80 much improved that he was able to be up most of the time, 
and the thought of a visit to Santa Fe seemed to act like a tonic 
in building him up, so that he grew stronger very rapidly. 

While waiting for him to gather strength for the journey 
I took a trip with Father Raverdy into the mountains for the 
pleasure of the experience, and at the same time to assist in a 
limited way in the work of the missions. We visited Central 
City and vicinity, and I could see the nature of the work and 
the inevitable privations under which the powerful constitution 
of Father Machebeuf had given way, and I wondered how he 
had been able to stand up under them so long. 

Denver had about 3,000 inhabitants, and there were a good 
number of Catholics but they seemed to be very poor, for the 
modest little church Avas without windows and in a general un- 
finished condition. Before we left Father Machebeuf was able 
to say mass, and on Sunday he spoke to the people in a way 
that surprised me. He announced his intended trip to New 
Mexico, and in the course of his address said: "You may won- 
der at the pleasure I anticipate in New Mexico, for you never 
have a good word for the Mexicans, and you seem to despise 
them as an inferior race of people. The only thing about them 
which you seem to care for is tlieir pe.sos— their dollars! Well, 
when I go among them I am going to ask them for some of 
their pesos to put windows in the church for the (^atholics of 
Denver ! ' ' 

This had some effect anyway, for that evening several car- 
penters came and pledged their word to Father Machebeuf that 
they would have the windows in for Christmas. 

We left Denver in Father Machebeuf 's heavy ambulance, 
which was stocked with provisions for our journey, our bedding 
and other baggage. The weather was good, and on our way 
south Father Machebeuf should stop at several of his mission 
stations to give the people a chance to hear mass and go to the 

In good time we reached the first Mexican settlement, on 
the Huerfano river. Here we were served with a remarkablv 


good dinner and chile Colorado in abundance. Father Mache- 
beuf was delighted with it. He had a wonderful relish for chile. 
A child was baptized here, and the good Mexicans were ex- 
tremel}' pleased with the visit of the priest. 

From the Huerfano we climbed the Sangi'e de Cristo 
mountains at Blanca Peak and night came upon us while we 
were still on the high range. We chose a partially sheltered 
ravine for our camping place and spent a fairly quiet night. 
The gentle zephyrs maA' have poetry and music in them for 
some when heard from the cozy corner of a warm house, but it 
is different with the traveler camping out in November on the 
heights of the Sierra Blanca. 

The next day the journey Avas long, but we arrived at San 
Luis de la Culebra in time for the first vespers of the patronal 
feast of the village. There was an illumination of pitch pine 
fires for the evening services, and in the morning there was a 
high mass and a procession bj' a happy lot of people in most 
gaudy attire. Then came the games, — horse-racing, foot-racing, 
burlesque dances, a short comedy, and other innocent sports, all 
in the open air and enlivened by a band of music. It was a red- 
letter daj^ in the village, and it is so in every Mexican village, 
but there was no novelty in it for us old wamors who had seen 
such things so often in our various rounds, yet I noticed that 
Father Machebeuf enjoyed it again after his different ex- 
perience in Colorado. 

At Taos Father Machebeuf stayed three days with me, and 
when he was ready to leave it was with difficulty that we found 
a man who could drive the ambulance to Santa Fe. There were 
no wagons or vehicles of any kind at Taos, for there were no 
roads upon which thej^ could be used, so there was no one who 
knew how to drive, or at least, who would undertake to drive a 
conveyance of this kind over the mountains to Santa Fe. At 
last we found a man who said that he had driven a coach at 
Durango in Old Mexico and we engaged him. He was in real- 
ity a good driver and took Father Machebeuf safely to Santa 
Fe. Since that time a good road has been made, and it was 
through the efforts of the Delegate to Congress — the former 
Padre Gallegos. 

Father Machebeuf spent some time with Bishop Lamy at 
Santa Fe, and with his friends among the priests farther south. 
He also visited among the people, and we will see that he did 
not forget the pesos. He used to say to them, "I need money 
for my church in Denver, and I need many things for myself. 
My house is a miserable shanty, — I have a few chairs but our 


beds are sacks of straw dignified by the name of mattresses, 
etc." He did not tell them of the sermon he preached in Den- 
ver, so the men gave him money and the women did their share 
in other things. 

One thing the Mexican women pride themselves on is their 
soft, clean beds, and Father Machebeuf touched a sympathetic 
chord when he spoke of his poor beds. One lady made him a 
present of six mattresses and feather pillows; another gave him 
a dozen pillow slips, hemmed and trimmed with lace by her own 
daughter. "Good!" said Father Machebeuf, "you have 
started the ball rolling, and I am sure others will keep it go- 
ing." And they did, until he had a neat sum of money and a 
large miscellaneous supply of other chattels. He was a good 
beggar and he dia not refuse anything. "You have such fine 
chile Colorado and we have none in Denver," said he to one, 
and she hastened to reply: "My daughter, Juanita, has hun- 
dreds of ristras (strings) of it, and ground chile, and she will 
give you all you want." 

At last he had so much promised that he was at a loss to 
know what to do with it. In his difficulty he said: "Here I 
am now with beds, bedding, chile, onions, and so many things, 
but how am I to get them to their destination? I need a wagon 
and a yoke of oxen. Well, let us trust in God and maybe He 
will send me a charitable friend with the wagon and the oxen!" 
Sure enough, the charitable friend came, and he got his wagon 
and oxen. 

Towards the end of January' I received a message from 
Father Machebeuf asking me to meet him at Mora, the home of 
Father Salpointe. When I arrived there Father Salpointe took 
me to the corral to see the equipment of the Senor Vicario. 
There is was — a big ox wagon, besides his own ambulance, and 
both filled with provisions, furniture and various articles, and 
two men to help him on his way. "Hands off!" cried Father 
Machebeuf, "that is my property!" "How much did you pay 
for all this?" I asked. "Pay?" said he, "I paid nothing for 
it. I am not so simple as to offer pay to the good Mexicans! 
They were only too glad to do a meritorious work, and I gave 
them plenty of chance, too! When you come to Denver the next 
time you will not pull the straws out of the pillows and present 
them to me as American feathers as you did the last time ! 

When he was leaving Mora Father Salpointe and myself 
went with him as far as Cimarron. The first day was cold and 
windy, and the night was so bad that we could get but very lit- 
tle sleep in our camp. The next day was worse, with a veritable 


hurricane blowing. We met a troop of cavalry and they had 
one man tied upon his horse, for the wind had blown a piece 
of rock or slate from the hillside, striking him on the head and 
disabling him. 

At night we reached the Cimarron and were made welcome 
and comfortable at the ranch of Lucien Maxwell who was an 
old and warm friend of Father Machebeuf. The next day we 
each took our way for our respective homes. 

The older Catholics of Denver still remember 
when Father Machebeuf came home with that big ox 
wagon, which was a real Noah's Ark without the 
animals, and they will learn now, probably for the 
first time, how he got it and its wonderfully made-up 

Some additional information of this trip is 
given by Father Machebeuf himself in letters where 
he describes conditions in New Mexico at that time. 

The Territoiy of New Mexico is in a sad condition at the 
present moment. The Texans have taken several forts in the 
south where I attended two years ago. There was but a small 
number of them but they found no difficulty in taking the forts, 
for the U. S. officers surrendered without firing a shot. Four 
forts were taken and a number of villages were plundered, and 
the prospects of greater and richer pillage brought re-inforce- 
ments to the Texans, who number about 3,000 and threaten the 
conquest of the whole Territory. 

Besides the trouble with the Texans, the people have the 
Indians to contend with. Two very strong and fierce tribes— 
the Apaches and the Navajoes— have revolted and are com- 
mitting depredations along the frontiers and even in the inter- 
ior. Not a week passes when we do not hear of their ravages. 
Only a few days ago when I was at the Bishop's ranch sixteen 
miles from Santa Fe, forty savages passed within a mile of us 
one night and, attacking the herders and shepherds, drove off 
their flocks. Last year they massacred sixty persons in one 
parish west of Albuquerque. The small-pox is also ravaging the 
settlements, and altogether. New Mexico is in a bad way. 

Thank God, everything is quiet in Colorado. The Texans 
are too far away, and the Indians are afraid of the Amei'icans. 


During mj' fourteen months there I did not hear of their killing 
anyone, and I always made my long mission trips in perfect 
safety. In Denver I have built a little temporary home at the 
rear of the church, and have secured an excellent Belgian fam- 
ily to keep house for us. 

I am now in the parish of Father Salpointe on my way to 
Denver. Father Ussel is here and we are waiting for Father 
Guerin, Father Jonvenceau and an old French priest who was 
for twelve years an otTicer of dragoons under Louis Philip. To- 
morrow, Jan. 21, we will celebrate the patronal feast of the 
parish of Mora. 

Father Maohebeuf visited his missions without 
fear of the Indians. Highwaymen were more to be 
feared, yet they never bothered him. The Indians 
murdered several small parties of prospectors in the 
South Park in earlier times, and they were still on 
the lookout for those who ventured into remote re- 
gions, but they kept clear of the camps. They had 
reason to fear the Americans, and a regiment of these 
Americans two months later went from Pike's Peak 
into New Mexico, and drove the Texans back into 
their own State and quieted the Mexican Indians 


Completes the Church at Denver. — Location of the Church. 
— Farming in Colorado. — The Desert Conquered. — Father Mache- 
beuf Secures Lands. — Location for New Churches. — The Ceme- 
tery. — Revenue and Cost of Living. — Sad Accident. — Lamed for 
Life.— Boys' School.— St. Mary's Academy. — Proposed College. 
Father Ussel's Mission to the Benedictines.— Fire in Denver. — 
Flood.— Indian Massacres.— Fright in Denver.— Father Maehe- 
beuf 's Courage. — Usual Mission Trips.— Battle of Sand Creek. — 
Desperadoes. — Later Missions. 

Upon his return from New Mexico Father 
Machebeuf resumed the work of visiting the missions 
which had necessarily been somewhat neglected dur- 
ing his absence. As soon also as the weather per- 
mitted he set about completing the church in Den- 
ver, and improving his humble residence and bleak 
surroundings. The church at that time seemed far 
out upon the prairie, for houses were few and scat- 
tered above Larimer street, and foot-paths crossed 
the lots in any direction, for of streets there was lit- 
tle knowledge outside of the sun^eyor's office, and 
few bothered themselves about them. 

The church was at the crossing of F and Stout 
streets, and F street, or Fifteenth as it was later 
called, was a well-traveled thoroughfare, for it was 
where the Cherry Creek road led in from the South, 
and also where a large portion of the traffic entered 
the city from the East, but it was five squares up 
from Larimer street, and most of the business was 
done farther down, on McGaa (now Market), Blake, 
Wazee and Wyncoop streets. Father Machebeuf put 


a fence around bis little cottage, planted flowers and 
vines and made it a little oasis in the desert. He also 
dug a well, and planted and watered his flowers with 
his own hands, and he did not forget the little gar- 
den spot for lettuces, radishes, onions and chile. 

The question of fanning did not present itself 
to the early comers of Pike's Peak. The great plains 
were ''The American Desert," and they reached to 
the bases of the mountains. So little rain was sup- 
posed to fall that the country was known as the rain- 
less district. Of course, people saw the grass grow- 
ing and nourishing thousands of herds of buffaloes 
and other wild animals, but then, the geographers 
had always written this region down as a desert only 
second in extent and barrenness to Sahara, and no 
one thought of disputing the dictum of these 
scientists. So strong is error oft-repeated that it 
stands in the face of truth. 

Irrigation was a science known in Egypt, Peru 
and Mexico, but the word was not yet in the Amer- 
ican farmer's vocabulary. When the idea was first 
broached it raised such a cloud of difficulties and 
seeming impossibilities that those who had been 
reared in eastern farming districts were appalled, 
and thousand's of them then, and for years after- 
wards, passed by the opportunity of a free farm in 
what is now the most prosperous agricultural dis- 
tricts of Colorado with the expression: ''Colorado 
may be all right for farming, but I would rather let 
some one else try it. ' ' When cabbages weighing fifty 
pounds, and potatoes of more than five pounds, and 



onions twenty inches in circumference, and other 
snch-like products of the soil were shown, many of 
the people shook their heads in a way that indicated 
a doubt of weights and measures. Anyway, it was 
said, these were but phenomena and samples spec- 
ially chosen, and could be produced only by irriga- 
tion, and irrigation was the bugbear. Irrigation has 
since ceased to be the bugbear, and those phenomena 
have become so common as to cease to attract notice 
in Colorado. 

Father Machebeuf had spent nine years in New 
Mexico and was familiar with the methods and ef- 
fects of irrigation. He saw the possibilities in Colo- 
rado and was not slow in taking advantage of them. 
He secured a small tract of land on the Platte river 
two miles below Denver, and another larger body 
containing over 500 acres on Clear Creek, eight miles 
west of Denver. The land on the Platte was after- 
wards included within the limits of the city, and of 
the larger tract a portion was sold, but the greater 
part was retained, and upon the eastern end of this 
remaining land is laid out the present beautiful ceme- 
tery of Mount Olivet. He also secured land for a 
cemetery almost upon his arrival, about three miles 
from Denver on the road leading out bej^ond F 
street, and there were many in the early days who 
complained that he had gone so far out on the plains 
towards Kansas City to choose a resting-place for 
their dead that a pious visit to their graves was al- 
most an impossibility. Since that time things have 
changed. Then there was not a house between the 


church and the graveyard, and now Mount Calvary 
Cemetery is in the center of the aristocratic Capitol 
Hill residence district, whose denizens, for reasons 
best known to themselves, have been trying for years 
to close the cemetery against further burials, and, if 
possible, force the removal of the bodies already 
buried there that the sacred ground may be con- 
verted into a pleasure park. 

Upon his other lands Father Machebeuf began 
the cultivation of vegetables and grain upon a lim- 
ited scale, but, with others, he showed that agricul- 
ture might be a profitable industry in Colorado. 
From a field of ten acres, sown in March 1863, he 
reaped more than 300 bushels of grain in August. 
There were several drawbacks in the beginning, such 
as inexperienced farmers, the grasshopper pests, etc., 
but in the long run his farms were paying invest- 

It was not as investments, however, that Father 
Machebeuf held these lands. From the first he hoped 
to utilize thorn for the good of religion and the sav- 
ing of souls. In his mind's eye he had a picture of a 
grand institution, conducted by some religious order 
of men, in which homeless and destitute boys would 
be cared for, properly trained and taught some trade, 
or useful and honorable mode of making a liveli- 
hood. More than once in those early days he took 
the writer over the grounds and pointed out the very 
spot where he proposed to erect the buildings, and 
drew the plans of them on the ground with his cane. 

A third piece of farming land he secured in 


the fertile valley of the South Boulder, and that 
piece remains attached to the church at that place to 
this day. 

Father Machebeuf was also on the alert for lo- 
cations for churches where he found Catholics in 
new towns which were likely to be permanent, and 
many of the church buildings now in Colorado stand 
upon ground secured by him in his missionary days. 
Other properties, in Denver and elsewhere, he 
bought early when values were low, hoping to see 
them in time occupied by educational and benevolent 
foundations. Of mining property he had but little, 
and none of any special value. 

From notes and memoranda left by Father 
Machebeuf it would seem that one-half of his Sun- 
days were spent in missions outside of Denver. At 
least one Sunday in each month was given to Cen- 
tral City where he had his first mission church and 
a numerous congregation. His collections there, in- 
cluding a few baptisms and an occasional marriage, 
were about forty dollars a month. This at first was 
mostly in gold dust, when, instead of a pocketbook, 
every miner carried a little buckskin bag for the vir- 
gin metal, and they became such experts in handling 
it that, taking a pinch from the bag as a man takes 
a pinch of snuff from a box they could calculate the 
value of a dollar so closely that they asked no change 
either way. 

This compensation was not very much for 
Father Machebeuf when we consider the times. 
There were no millionaires in the congregation, but 


work was plenty and waj2:es were good. His living 
expenses were high, for tea was two dollars a pound, 
sugar fifty cents, flour was cheap at eighteen dollars 
a hundred, grain for his team was from ten to twenty 
cents a pound and hay was thirty dollars a ton. 
Everything else was in proportion where, so to 
speak, it was not out of all proportion. Among the 
names on the books of his Central City congregation 
are those of John B. Fitzpatrick, Richard Glennon, 
John B. Sutton, Thomas :McGrath, Richard White, 
Jeremiali Hogan, Daniel Murphy, Robert Kirkpat- 
rick, Patrick Glynn, Philip Smith, Miles Cavanaugh, 
Patrick Casey, ]\richael Soden, George Powell, John 
Ryan, Charles Desmoiueaux, John McKenna, Albert 
Selak, J. Sherry, J. H. Reid, Dennis Tierney, etc., 
etc. These are all gone now, but many of their 
descendants remain, and they must acknowledge that 
their ancestors were not over-generous towards their 
self-sacrificing pastor. 

On Sunday, June 14, 1863, Father Machebeuf 
was with his peo]ile in Central City as usual. lie 
spent ^fonday among them attending to some mat- 
ters pertaining to the new church, visiting those 
who were sick, and making a few other friendly calls. 
On Tuesday, June 16, he started for Denver. After 
leaving Central City and Black Hawk the road left 
the Clear Creek canon and made an ascent of four 
miles to cross a high ridge. At best this road was 
narrow and dangerous, for it was, as it were, chis- 
eled from the side of the mountain nearly its entire 
length. Near the top of the ridge Father Machebeuf 


was met by a number of heavily laden wagons, and 
in his attempt to make room for them to pass he, un- 
fortunately, drove over the edge of the road. His 
conveyance was upset and he was thrown out upon 
the rocks, breaking the bone of his right leg com- 
pletely off at the thigh joint. He was taken to the 
house of David Kerr, a Catholic who lived near the 
scene of the accident, and medical aid was sum- 
moned, but, owing to his age, or the unskilfulness of 
the physician, the broken bones failed to unite prop- 
erly, A notable shortening and weakening of the 
limb resulted and he was ever afterwards very lame. 
When able to be moved he was taken to Denver, but 
he was unable to say mass until about the first of 

News of the accident reached Bishop Lamy at 
Santa Fe, and he started for Denver not knowing 
whether he would find Father Machebeuf alive or 
dead. He brought Father Salpointe of Mora with 
him, and both were made happy by the sight of 
Father Machebeuf hobbling about, although he 
was on crutches. 

While laboring under this disability, however, 
Father Machebeuf was not idle. He attended al- 
most as usual to the temporal administration of af- 
fairs from his invalid chamber, and at the same time 
he was not unmindful of the spiritual needs of his 
people. During this time he succeeded in getting 
the first priest to come from the East to help him, 
the Rev. Thomas A, Smith, and in September, 1863, 
assigned him to Central City as its first resident 


The quostion of Cntliolie odiK^ation, over dear 
to the heart of Father ^Machebeuf, now came up be- 
fore him while he had time to think of something 
besides mission journeys. To establish Catholic 
schools was one of liis greatest desires, and, while it 
was not possible, perhaps, to get men and women of 
religious orders to help him just then, he could try to 
help himself while waiting for the time to come when 
something better could be provided. "With this idea 
he bought a vacant building, had it moved to the lot 
beside the church and fitted it up for a day school. 
He engaged a lady teacher, a j\Iiss Steele, who 
opened the school in the fall of 1863 with a fair num- 
ber of i)npils, some of whom were not Catholics. 

In the meantime lie entered into correspond- 
ence with the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky for the 
purpose of inducing them to open an academy for 
the education of young ladies at Denver. In this he 
was earnestly seconded by Bishop Lamy, with the 
result that the Mother Superior promised to send 
him a colony of Sisters during the following sum- 

With this cheering prospect in view Father 
^fachebeuf, in March, 1864, purchased a large two- 
story frame house, the residence of Mr. Geo. W. 
Clayton, on a plot of ground fronting on California 
street and extending from E to F streets, making 
an inunediate payment of $2,000 and giving his own 
personal note for a balance of $2,000 more payable 
in sixty days. It was an ideal proi>erty and only 
one block from the church. The building was very 


large for a residence at that time, and was one of 
the finest in Denver when nothing was on a very- 
grand scale. 

In June four Sisters of Loretto came from 
Santa Fe and took possession of the house and pre- 
pared to open their school. Those first Sisters, if 
we mistake not, were Sisters Ann Joseph, Joanna, 
Agatha and Louise. This was the beginning of St. 
Mary's Academy, since grown to such magnificent 
proportions both in size and in reputation. 

St. Mary's Academy has a history of its own, 
and we do not intend to follow it out, although we 
shall from time to time find occasion to refer to it 
in the course of this narrative. Let it suffice here to 
say that it was dear to the heart of Father Mache- 
beuf, and he never counted anything a sacrifice that 
he could do for St. Mary's Academy, and it can be 
as truly said that the Sisters of Loretto never 
abused his benevolence, nor forgot any favor which 
he ever did for them. One thing they began to do 
for him at once was to teach the children in his Sun- 
day school, and thus they relieved him of a part of 
his work, yet he never failed, when at home and able, 
to give a short instruction to the children at the 
close of their catechism lesson. 

But Father Machebeuf did not wish to do things 
by halves. He thought of the boys of his flock as 
well as of the girls, and wished to provide them with 
the means of a Christian training while pursuing the 
higher branches of secular learning. He had suc- 
ceeded in his efforts for an academy for the girls, 


and now he turned his attention to a college for the 
boys. His hopes for success in this direction lay in 
the possibility of inducing the Benedictines of Atch- 
ison, Kansas, to establish a house of their order in 
Denver and open a college. 

In July 1864, Father Ussel came to Denver on 
his way to France, and Father Machebeuf commis- 
sioned him to speak to the Prior of the Benedictines 
at Atchison upon the matter. As Father Ussel was 
to visit the old home in France Father Machebeuf 
made him the bearer of the following letter, which 
speaks of this idea among other things. 

Denver, July 22, 1864. 
Very Dear Sister: 

Although I am vei-y busy I must take advantage of the 
passing of Father Ussel on his way to La Belle France to 
send you a word. I shall not give you particulars of anything, — 
Father Ussel will do that by word of mouth far better than I 
can by letter. He has spent a few days here with me to rest, 
and I have given him full information about all my affairs. He 
will tell you of the good Sisters, of our project of a college next 
spring under the Benedictine Fathers, of the prosperity of the 
new Territory', and also of the great flood which carried away 
a part of the city and destroyed the crops along the banks 
of the Platte river. 

For the first time in its history four priests are together in 
Denver to-day. I shall write to you again before F'ather Ussel 
leaves France. When our convent is opened I shall have a lit- 
tle more time. Our Sisters belong to the Order of Lorctto, 
founded in Kentucky b.y a holy priest under the direction of 
Bishop Flaget, whom you will remember, and in whose cojn- 
pany I came to America. They have many flourishing houses 
in the States and three in New Mexico. We hope to have a 
good number of boarders. 

Father Ussel gives an account of his visit to 
Denver on that occasion, and of his mission to the 


Benedictines with its results. We subjoin from his 
interesting notes. 

In July, 1864, while pastor of Taos in New Mexico, I ob- 
tained from Bishop Lamy a six months' leave of absence to 
^^sit my relatives in France. Father Machebeuf knew my 
uncles, and I was acquainted with his brother and sister, so I 
went by the way of Denver to be able to bring them late and 
direct news from the Senor Vicario. 

Passing over our conversations about France, old friends, 
old times, etc., I come at once to the matter of his proposed 
college. Father Machebeuf was a man of large views, of great 
enterprise, and of undaunted courage in the service of God and 
of the Church. Colorado was but four or five years old, yet, for 
Father Machebeuf, it had passed its uncertain stage, and he 
had unbounded faith in its future. He not only foresaw a pop- 
ulous and prosperous State in the heart of a mag-nificent West, 
but he predicted the Catholic Church as its strongest moral 
force, sustained and directed from an Episcopal See at Denver. 
"I realize," said he, ''that Providence has placed me here for a 
purpose. Already the Catholic Church is in the lead of all the 
other denominations, and the strongest in the field has the 
advantage. Towns are springing up on all sides, and in the 
beginning locations are easily secured for churches, schools, 
hospitals, etc., and for these works the people are genei'ous. 
I try to secure these locations and do what I can to make a 
beginning of some of the works, so that when a bishop comes 
he will find the field prepared, with a portion of it yeilding 
fruit and the remainder of it ready for the plow. This is my 
work in preparation for the future, but I must also meet the 
needs and seize the opportunities of the present. 

"I have been fortunate in providing a good school for the 
girls, and I think the time has come when I should do as much 
for the boys. This also is the desire of Bishop Lamy, but he 
has more than he can do in New Mexico and he wishes me to 
do what I can here. We shall soon need more priests, both 
secular and regular, and I have been thinking of the Benedic- 
tines. I like those religious, and they would be just the men 
for a college in Denver. Now, I want you to stop at Atchison 
and speak to Father Wirth about it. I wanted to go myself, 
but could never spare the time, but you can be my representa- 
tive and take up the matter with him. Of course, you will 
make no definite arrangements or binding promises, but just 


state the proposition and explain the situation, and let me know 
if I may hope for jrood results." 

Father Machebeuf's letter of introduction procured me a 
warm welcome with the Benedictines, and I rested there sev- 
eral days. I told Father Wirth, the Prior, of the desires of 
Father Machebouf and gave him my ideas of Colorado as best 
I could. He acknowledged that Atchison was a small place for 
a large college, but the floating population of Colorado made 
the future of Denver uncertain, and after a conference with the 
Fathers he said that they tiiought it best to wait a while longer, 
and that he would write to Father MJaehebeuf and learn more 
about the situation. 

When I reached New York I met another friend of Father 
Machebeuf and Bishop Lamy. This was Father Lafont of the 
French church. I could hardly satisfy his desire for informa- 
tion about New ^lexico and Colorado. These were the ideal 
missionary lands for him, and Bishop Lamy and Father Mache- 
beuf were the ideal missionaries. Of Father Machebeuf he 
said: 'The little man has his wishes for space and freedom 
gratified. In France he was always complaining that he could 
not breathe easily and he went to Ohio for more room. Then 
he crossed the desert to New Mexico, and now he has half the 
world to himself in Colorado. I wonder if he is contented now? 
I can see him in my imagination, always on the go, looking for 
Catholics, bringing back the stray sheep, stirring up the luke- 
warm, planning for chapels and schools, inspiring his fellow- 
priests with greater zeal, and then looking for something more 
to do." 

The names of Bishop Lamy and Father Machebeuf were 
as titles of recommendation for me, and I received many favors 
for their sake in France, and, upon my return to America with 
my ten clerics, I found a welcome and a much-needed rest with 
Father Lafont in New York, and with the Benedictines at 
Atchison. At Denver, too. Father Machebeuf had provided 
lodgings for us until we could resume our journey to Santa Fe. 

Most new towns have their baptism of fire, and 
it generally proves to be a blessing, for it removes 
old makeshifts of buildings which are succeeded by 
better and safer structures, and the citizens inaug- 
urate more efficient moans of protection. In Ai)ril, 
1863, the business center of Denver was destroyed 


by a conflagration, and it had scarcely risen from its 
ashes when a baptism of water swept over the low 
lands, inundating West Denver and all that part of 
East Denver lying along the Platte river. On the 
evening of May 20, 1864, a wall of water nearly 
twenty feet high came down the usually dry bed of 
Cherry Creek, carrying away houses, tents, bridges 
and everything in its immediate course, and flood- 
ing the entire lower districts of the city. The prop- 
erty loss was great, but fortunately there was little 
or no loss of life. 

Father Machebeuf was out of the range of both 
these disasters, but he lent what assistance he could 
to the actual sufferers and took part in the public 
spirit which enabled the city to recover so rapidly 
from its misfortunes. 

A third baptism, and this was a baptism of 
blood, came to Denver in the latter half of 1864. 
The Indian tribes on the plains refused to sign a 
treaty with the United States for the purchase or 
exchange of their lands, and made open war upon 
the whites to drive them off their grounds. About 
fifty actual or prospective citizens of Denver and 
vicinity were massacred, all of them while crossing 
the plains, or at their homes on the ranches. Wagon 
trains were attacked, plundered and burned, the 
stage stations along the Platte were destroyed, the 
valleys were swept almost clear of resident whites, 
and the mails were so disarranged that for a time 
it was necessary to send mail from the Missouri 
river to Denver by the way of Panama and San 


No Indians appeared in the immediate vicinity 
of Denver, but reports of their coming were not 
lacking, and at times the town was in an uproar of 
excitement. Upon one occasion a panic seized upon 
many of the people, — the women fled from the out- 
skirts of the town, men hid in cellars and out-of-way 
places, and even in dry goods boxes on the streets, 
for the Indians were reported to be on what is now 
Capitol Hill. Father Machebeuf had a housekeeper, 
Sarah Morahan, a strong, well-built Irish woman, 
and Sarah marched forth and back with an old 
musket guarding the house for a part of the night 
against the Indians who never came. The alarm 
passed away when it was found that the supposed 
savages were only a few herders with a flock of 
sheep. Old Sarah was really brave, for a short time 
after that she routed a party of soldiers who were 
robbing her henroosts. She actually seized one of 
them as he was scaling the fence, and he cried out: 
"Oh, let me go, let me go ! I haven't got but two !" 
She let him go, but it was because he tore himself 
from her grasp. 

During these Indian troubles Father Mache- 
beuf visited his mountain missions as if nothing 
unusual was going on, and he showed his utter dis- 
regard for danger by a trip to the Las Animas river 
and to Santa Fe, going in October and returning in 
the beginning of December, for the Immaculate Con- 
ception, the patronal feast of his church in Denver. 
The Las Animas river flows within forty miles of 
the Sand Creek battle-ground, where, on Nov. 29, 


1864, between five and six hundred Indians were 
killed, and the force of the war broken. 

During the years 1863-4, the South Park in the 
mountains was the scene of many murders and rob- 
beries by the Espinosas, and the Eeynolds band of 
desperadoes, yet Father Machebeuf went fearlessly 
on his way where duty called him. Most of these rob- 
bers and murderers met an untimely death. Some 
of them were captured alive, but before the law could 
take its course there was generally a reported at- 
tempt at escape which always resulted disastrously 
for the prisoners, and no one cared to ask any 
further questions. 

A change now began to creep into the character 
of the missions of Father Machebeuf. Placer min- 
ing was on the wane, and many of the old camps 
were being deserted. Quartz mining was so little 
understood, and so expensive as it had been hitherto 
carried on, with no adequate returns, that most men 
were afraid or unable to undertake it. There re- 
mained the Central City district, now cared for by 
Father Smith. Caribou was still good, Idaho 
Springs and Empire had a fair population and 
Georgetown was coming to the front. There was 
something yet in the Buckskin and Tarryall dis- 
tricts, but the rich gulches along the Arkansas river 
were drawing towards their end as mining centers. 
The Blue River and Ten Mile regions no longer 
swarmed with miners and prospectors, but enough 
remained to make an occasional visit of the priest 
necessary. The mining population was being sifted 


out, and a large portion of the unstable element was 

On the contrary the valleys were growing into 
prominence by the steady increase of an agricul- 
tural class and required an increasing attention. 
Golden City, ISfount Vernon, Morrison and Brad- 
ford were the nearer missions, and Marshall, Bould- 
er City and the fertile valley of the Boulder, the Big 
Thompson and the Cache-la-Poudre had their scat- 
tered Catholic families. There was also the Smith 
Settlement on the Platte, and other stations on 
Cherry and Plum Creeks, and in the Bijou Basin. 
Towards the south were Colorado City, Pueblo and 
Canon City, and farther away the Mexicans were 
locating on the Purgatoire, or Las Animas river, 
the Cucharas, the Huerfano and the Greenhorn, 
and as intermediate stations came Joe Doyle's, Zan 
Hicklin's, Dotson's, etc., and Fort Reynolds with 
many others was shortly added to the number. In 
the extreme south the town of Trinidad was growing 
up and needed attention. For this last place Father 
Machebeuf induced Bishop Lamy to give him Fath- 
er Munnecom to organize the Catholics there and 
along the neighboring streams. 

Settlers also, especially from New Mexico, were 
gradually going up the San Luis vaJley, and these 
would soon need more attention than could be given 
to them from Conejos. These conditions continued 
and grew more accentuated until the revival of min- 
ing under improved methods gave a fresh impetus to 
that industry, and the coming of the railroads in- 
jected new elements of progress into the rapidly 
growing Territory. 


Colorado and Utah Settlements. — Mormon Policy.— U. S. 
Troops. — Visit of Father Raverdy to Utah.— A Box of Peaches. 
— Bells. — Father Maehebeuf Sick.— Trompe-la-Mort.— Father 
Raverdy Goes to Central City. — Father Faure Comes to Denver. 
— Recreations at the Ranch. — The Choir. — New Church in Golden 
City. — Itinerai-y of a Mission Trip.— ProgTess of the Church.— 
Father Machebeuf's Voluntaiy Poverty.— American Influences 
Predominate. — Steps for a Vicariate. — Father Machebeuf's Hu- 
mility Alarmed. 

The settlement of the Rocky Mountain States 
was due, principally, to the discovery of gold and sil- 
ver mines. This drew to the locality people of every 
race and religion, and when the great moving crowds 
were satisfied, or disappointed, and had sought new 
regions there was always a permanent element left 
behind strong enough to form the beginnings of new 
Territories after the transient population had floated 
away. Utah was an exception to this rule. It was 
settled by the Mormons as an agricultural commun- 
ity, with an exclusive religion and a desire to bar all 
outsiders. Thej^ knew of the existence of gold and 
silver in the Territory but their leaders discouraged 
the search for mines. ''We cannot eat gold and sil- 
ver," said Brigham Young, ''neither do we want to 
bring into our peaceful settlements a rough frontier 
population to vitiate the morals of our youth, over- 
whelm us by their numbers and drive us again from 
our hard-earned homes. " Consequently, but few peo- 
i>le went to Utah except Mormons, and naturally no 
Catholic who cared for his religion would isolate 


himself from his Church and his brethren under 
such circumstances. 

That part of Bishop Lamy's diocese, then, was 
not much of a burden in the earlier years, but, in 
the sixties, a slight change was noticeable. On the 
24th day of July, 1847, Brigham Young is reported 
to have said: ''If the Gentiles will let us alone for 
ten years I'll ask no odds of them!" Brigham 
Young was an American but he misunderstood the 
American character if he expected to defy the na- 
tion, or exclude the American settler. Ten years 
from that time, to the day, Brigham Young and his 
followers were celebrating the anniversary of their 
coming to the Salt Lake valley when the startling 
news reached them that a United States army was 
marching upon them from the East. Their haughti- 
ness and seditious conduct and utterances had of- 
fended the government to such an extent that force 
was considered necessary to subdue them and keep 
them within proper bounds. This insured civility 
towards the few strangers who were in their midst, 
and was like an opening wedge for a greater Gen- 
tile immigration. 

In October, 1862, Colonel P. E. Connor, with his 
command of United States volunteers from Nevada 
and California for the civil war, was ordered to 
Salt Lake City, where he established Fort Douglas 
and did service against the Indians, while keeping 
his eye upon the Mormons. 

By implication Utah was under the care of 
Father Machebeuf, on account of the unity of 


language and the lesser difficulty of access, and in 
September, 1864, lie sent Father Raverdy on a mis- 
sionary visit to Utah, with instructions to investi- 
gate the religious conditions of the Territory. He 
knew from his own experience that Catholics would 
be found among the soldiers, and a visit to them, 
in addition to the information to be gotten about 
any other Catholics, would repay for the trouble 
of such a visit. 

Father Raverdy was warmly received by Col. 
Connor, but he found few Catholics outside of Fort 
Douglas, and, leaving Utah, he extended his journey 
to Bannack City, then the center of the gold-mining 
excitement of Montana. 

The valleys near Salt Lake were teeming with 
fruit, and before Father Raverdy left them he sent 
a large box of peaches as a treat to Father Mache- 
beuf in Denver. Father Machebeuf was surprised 
at receiving them, but more surprised at receiving 
with them a bill for sixty dollars express charges. 
There was no fruit growing then in Colorado ex- 
cept such as grew wild, and, while apples were 
freighted in by wagon, the peach was too perishable 
for a journey of thirty days. 

To re-imburse himself for the cost of trans- 
portation Father Machebeuf hit upon the idea of 
offering a number of the peaches for sale at the 
seemingly extraordinary price of one dollar each. 
But peaches were an extraordinary fruit just then, 
and he had no difficulty in disposing of a suffcient 
number at that price to pay the cost of carriage, and 


he had enough left for an abundant treat for him- 
self and the Sisters and pupils of St. Mary's 

In 1863 Father Maehebeuf procured a bell for 
his church in Denver. It was the first bell of the 
kind in Colorado and weighed nearly one thousand 
pounds. It was set up on a wooden frame like a 
derrick, but a violent wind storm in the late autumn 
of 1864 blew the structure over and the bell was 
broken by the fall. In January, 1865, he began a 
subscription for a new bell, and in July the new 
bell, twice the size of the old one, arrived, and with 
it a smaller bell for the Sisters' Academy. They 
were from the foundry of Stuckstede & Co. of St. 
Louis, and the freight alone on them was $305.90. 
The beautiful tones of these two bells, as they float 
out over the Queen City of the Plains, have been 
admired for more than forty years. At the blessing 
of these bells, Sept. 24, 1865,'Father Smith of Cen- 
tral City preached the sermon, and a collection taken 
up on the occasion realized $123.00. 

On the day of the blessing of the bells Father 
Maehebeuf was forced by sickness to give up work 
again. That year there was an epidemic of bloody 
dysentery and many died of the disease. Father 
Maehebeuf was suffering for some time before he 
gave up altogether, and his case was so severe that 
several times during the next two weeks there were 
reports spread of his death. Strong constitutions 
seemed to weigh but little against this plague, and 
men who knew not what sickness was until now were 


carried off in a short time. Two of the writer's own 
immediate family, living within a stone's throw of 
the church, were victims of the same fell destroyer. 
Fervent prayers were offered by the Sisters and all 
friends of Father Machebeuf, and who knows how 
much they may have helped, but he withstood the 
strain and recovered. He spoke of this sickness in a 
letter to his sister, and, as usual, passed lightly over 
his own sufferings. His sister complained of the 
scarcity of his letters, and told him the news of the 
death of their aunt and foster-mother. In reply he 

Your letter of Sept. 15 has reached me. Until now your 
lettei's have generally been a source of consolation to me by their 
cheerful spirit and pleasant news, but this brings me sad news 
mdeed. I cannot express to you the pain and son-ow I feel at 
the news of the death of that dear aunt whom we have all had 
reason to love as a good mother. But if Providence gave her to 
us to lavish upon us the cares and affections of the mother whom 
we had the misfortune to lose so young, let us bless that same 
Providence which now takes her away, and show our gratitude 
to this good aunt and mother by offering our prayers and good 
works for her benefit. You may be sure that I did not neglect 
to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her, and I shall do so 
as often as I can, and not only for her, but for all of you. It is 
a great consolation to know that this good aunt died in such 
holy dispositions, surrounded by every care and help that the 
Church could give. Happy would we be if all the dear members 
of our family, so closely united here, could merit by their fidel- 
ity to be united forever in heaven. Let us pray fervently to ob- 
tain the grace of this great happiness. 

It was an additional pain for me to learn that you did not 
receive any letters from me lately. This was not my fault, for I 
wrote immediately after the return of Father Ussel to thank 
you and Mai'ius and the other members of the family for all the 
precious gifts and souvenirs sent me. The cause of this lies 
probably in the fact that the mails have been very irregular dur- 
ing the past year, and sometimes stopped altogether in conse- 


quence of the massacres, robberies and ravages of the various 
tribes of savage Indians scattered over almost the entire COO 
miles separating us from the Missouri river. They robbed not 
only the mails, but whole caravans, murdering the men, pillaging 
the stocks of merchandise, burning the wagons, stampeding the 
mules, and carrying the women and children away into captivity. 
It happened to nie in 18G5 not to receive the letters addressed 
to me from St. Louis, and many others have suffered the same 
inconvenience. Things are better now, for the government has 
troops stationed along the route to protect the mails, as well as 
travelers and all sorts of traflfic. 

I was sorry to hear that you were so near death's door with 
the typhoid fever, and 1, too, had my little turn of sickness. 
Last September I had a severe attack of dysentery which was 
very prevalent in Denver at that time, and claimed many victims, 
some of whom were my very nearest neighbors, and I was so 
near the grave with it myself that more than once rumors of my 
death were spread through the city, and friends came to assure 
themselves of the foundation for the reports. I laughed at 
them and told them not to put themselves out about such reports, 
that at the proper time I myself would let them know of the day 
and hour of my funeral. If Bishop Rappe knew of these rumors 
he would have still more reason to call me the Deceiver of Death 
(Trompe-la-Mort) than he had in 1849, when the newspapers of 
Sandusky put my name in the list of the victims of cholera, or 
when I was reported dead in 1861, I am now in very good 
health, but a little more lame than before. 

Our parish has grown considerably since the close of the 
civil war, and several new settlements of Catholics are being 
formed in the vicinity which require an occasional visit. Father 
Raverdy, my dear and devoted assistant, has been away on the 
missions now for two weeks, and I am but awaiting his return 
to go myself and visit the Mexican villages 150 miles south of 
Denver. Our convent school is progressing very satisfactorily, 
although there are eight or ten other schools with which it must 
compete. We are preparing, but very slowly, the way for a 
college for boys. 

This trip to the south which Fatlier Machebeuf 
speaks of occupied seventeen days, from Feb, 21, to 
Mar. 9, 1866, and it was the last long trip which he 
took for some time. Troubles arose in Central City 
and Father Smith left the dioc«se in May. To fill 


the vacancy thus created Father Machebeuf was 
obliged to send Father Eaverdy to Central City, 
thus depriving himself of his dear and devoted 
assistant in Denver, and leaving to himself the task 
of attending alone to Denver and the valley mis- 
sions. Bishop Lamy came to Denver in May on ac- 
count of the troubles at Central City, and he ap- 
proved of the appointment of Father Eaverdy, who 
took permanent possession of his new parish on 
June 1, 1866. The Bishop promised to send another 
assistant priest to Father Machebeuf in Denver, but 
this priest, Eev. John Faure, did not come until to- 
wards the end of the year. He was completely ig- 
norant of English and could do but little more than 
to say mass, but this was a great help to Father 
Machebeuf, for it gave him some little opportunity 
for visiting his missions. Before the arrival of 
Father Faure only such as could be reached during 
the week were attended with any sort of regularity, 
and the distinct missions were visited but seldom, 
for on such occasions Father Machebeuf was obliged 
to leave the congregation and the Sisters at Denver 
without mass on Sunday, which in fact he did sev- 
eral times. During the late summer of 1867 Father 
Faure had a severe attack of typhoid fever, and 
upon his recovery he returned to New Mexico leav- 
ing Father Machebeuf again alone in Denver. 
These times when Father Machebeuf was at home 
alone were his busiest seasons. When traveling he 
was getting his "rest in action," and he used to 
complain that so many called upon him with all sorts 


of business, and without any business whatever, 
that he liad scarcely time for his breviary and his 
correspondence. Every caller seemed to think that 
he or she was the only caller Father Machebeuf had, 
and it was like an act of charity to keep him com- 
pany as long as possible. 

On his Clear Creek ranch he had a reserved 
portion of the house and a neat chapel fitted up in it, 
and he often went there for a day or two to rest. He 
was not idle there, for he would walk over the whole 
farm and inspect the crops, and plan for furtlier im- 
provements in the buildings, the fences and the 
ditches to bring more land under cultivation. He 
would sometimes have the farmer carry him on his 
back across the creek that he might show him a nice 
spot on the island for a garden or something of the 
kind, but he had a suspension bridge made over that 
part of the stream after the farmer one day acci- 
dentally fell with him in mid-stream, giving him an 
involuntary bath. He could never quite convince 
himself that it was altogether an accident, but in 
this he wronged the farmer, for the good man had 
too much reverence for Father ISfachebeuf to play 
such a trick upon him. The wire suspension bridge 
was not much safer, but Father Machebeuf would 
crawl over upon the swinging structure rather than 
risk another bath when unprepared for it. Under 
proper conditions he enjoyed a bath in the cold 
stream, and often took it, for he had no convenience 
of that kind in his house at Denver. 

On several occasions he gave the Sisters on out- 


ing for a day at this ranch, and he did the same 
thing for his choir. It may be remarked that he had 
a good choir, and the music of Mozart, Weber, Hay- 
den, etc., was familiar to the singers. Professor 
Schormeyer was organist and director, and he had a 
most efficient quartet in Miss Buttrick, soprano, 
Mrs. Schinner alto, Mr. Koch tenor and Mr. Kratz 
bass. There were others for the chorus, but these 
were the principal and permanent singers, and on 
grand occasions their work was enhanced by the 
addition of an orchestra. 

One of Father Machebeuf's missions which at 
that time gave promise of future prosperity was 
Golden City. There were not many Catholics in 
the town itself, but there was a number in the near- 
by country, and there were coal mines, iron mines, 
smelters, flour mills, potteries and foundries in the 
town or close by, and these would probably bring an 
influx of Catholic laborers. The citizens of Grolden 
City were very ambitious at that time, and were do- 
ing their utmost to outclass Denver and make their 
town the leading city of Colorado for all time. And 
these men were not lunatics or dreamers, but men 
of good business capacity and active enterprise, and 
when they finally saw Denver leading them per- 
manently they turned in and helped her along. 

With the encouragement of these men Father 
Machebeuf began the erection of a small church at 
Golden City in 1867. In writing to his brother he 
said of this undertaking : 


Nothing new at Denver, unless it is that we have had a 
very severe winter, but the fine weather has corae afrain and 
things are moving. I came home yesterday from Golden City — I 
should rather say Iron City, for there is no gold there, but they 
have found some very rich iron mines. Our little church there 
is almost finished, although there are but two Catholic families 
in the town, and these represent four different nationalities. 
They have each subscribed $100, and some of the farmers have 
subscribed .$100 also, and the Americans help us liberally. The 
church will cost at least $2,000. This winter I collected $1,000 
for our convent from the Americans, who give with good grace. 
I often state the sum that I expect them to give, and they smile 
and pay it to me. Then I show this to others and they give their 
share, too. I once got $100 from a Methodist preacher for the 
convent, but he was a public man, a Colonel Chivington of the 
army. Thus Providence is assisting us in all sorts of ways. 

The little church at Golden City was opened 
for services on Sunday, May 19, 1867, and Father 
Machebeuf brought his choir from Denver to make 
the occasion as memorable as possible. The writer 
helped him the day before to clean out the new 
building, to put up the temporary altar and to dec- 
orate both church and altar as far as the limited 
time and means would allow. It was a gala day for 
Golden City and the church was thronged, mostly 
with non-Catholics, and, naturally, the collection 
was small. It amounted to only $26.15. The ex- 
pense alone of bringing the choir from Denver was 

On his other missions Father Machebeuf fared 
a little better, but it was hard work and he could not 
go very often. When his visits were too close to- 
gether his perquisites decreased in projwrtion. We 
print the following extract from his diary, showing 
the itinerant of just one of his many trips. It ai> 


pears to us to-day as a curiosity, jet it is a fair 
record of his ordinary missionary life. 
Tuesday, July 30, 1867. — Preparation for trip. Sun- 
dry expenses, $8.50. 
Wednesday, July 31. — Depart. Junction House. 

Paid, $3.50. 
Thursday, Aug. 1. — At Famum's. No mass. Rec'd 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday. — At Marshes. Rec'd 

Monday. — Mass at Breckenridge. $25. French 

Gulch, $18. Paid blacksmith, $1.25. 
Tuesday. — Hamilton. Paid hotel, $4.00. 
Wednesday. — Buckskin Joe. Mass. Rec'd, $15.00. 

Lecture on Rule of Faith. 
Thursday. — Go to Montgomery. No mass. Rec'd 

Friday. — Fairplay. Mass. Rec'd, $0.00. Lecture 

on Papal Supremacy. 
Saturday, Sunday. — California Gulch. Mass. 

Rec'd, $60.00. Lecture on Rule of Faith. 
Monday.— Ditto. Mass. Rec'd, $5.00. Go to Day- 
ton. No mass. Lecture on Papal Supremacy. 

Rec'd, $0.00. 
Tuesday. — Cache Creek. No mass. Rec'd, $0.00. 
Wednesday. — At Frank Mayol's. Mass. Marriage. 

Rec'd, $5.00. 
Thursday, Aug. 15. — Mass at Hugh Mahon's. Rec'd 

$2.00. Go to Cottonwood and South Arkansas. 

Lecture on the Real Presence. 


Friday. — Mass at Mrs. Weaver's. Rec'd, $7.00. 

Camped to-night on the Arkansas — alone! 
Saturday. — Crossed the Arkansas with buggy loaded 

on big wagon with two yoke of oxen. Cam^x^d 

at Weston's. Four preachers! 
Sunday. — Start early. Mass at Guiraud's. Nice 

Monday. — Mass. Rec'd, $10.00. Go to Famum's. 
Tuesday, Aug. 20. — Junction House. Paid, $5.00. 

Return to Denver. Found Father Raverdy in 


Twenty two days — 350 miles in his own con- 
veyance — almost daily mass, sermon and confessions 
— five special lectures — and $200. Average $9 a day 
for man and team. Take the weather as it comes, 
the roads as you find them, and the rivers on ox- 
wagons. At the same time we find an entry in his 
diary as follows: "To Thomas Conroy, for work 
on the Gallery, 20 days at $6.00— $120.00." It was 
better to be a carpenter than a missionary in those 
days. We also find a recipe for the destruction of 
vermin — (pour detruire les poux). Yes, the mission- 
ary had many little inconveniences as well as great 
ones. It is all very interesting and amusing now, 
but the romance of missionary life does not appeal 
at the moment as strongly as at the distance of about 
forty years. There were no lecture bureaux then 
to make that single feature more easy and more re- 
munerative, but the lecture bureaux cannot visit the 
scattered miners in their gulches and cabin cities 
clinging to the mountain sides, and provide them 


with mass and the sacraments. That is left yet to 
the successors of Machebeuf and the pioneers of his 

In 1867, the Church in Colorado had taken 
shape, and its future could be forecast. Its course 
thus far had been one of formation, and its future 
progress was now seen to be along well defined lines. 
When Father Machebeuf came there was nothing but 
the scattered elements, without cohesive force or a 
prospect of a permanent union. He had to treat 
them as units until he could choose his parts and 
bring them together as a unity. He found them 
mixed with the froth and scum and driftwood of civ- 
ilization, and when this floated away he had three 
churches ready, and others waiting only the co-op- 
eration of a pastor to rise into being; he had the 
school system started in both primary and academic 
branches; he had ground ready for charitable and 
beneficient institutions sufiScient for a decade of 
years to come, and he had his mission routes system- 
atically laid out to reach the farthest Catholic at 
stated times. One half of the world was busy wag- 
ing wars and changing temporarily the boundaries of 
nations and the political complexion of states, and 
the other half was looking on with wonderment, but 
Father Machebeuf was quietly and almost unnoticed 
working laying the foundations of an empire which 
was to grow and endure. 

When Bishop Lamy said: ''You are just the 
man for the Pike's Peak region," it was like a 
prophecy. The idea that Providence had singled 


him out and placed him in this exceptional position 
was enough to make Father Machebeuf feel the im- 
portance of his work, and he did it as if answering 
directly to Providence for its faithful performance. 
As every opportunity arose he was quick to seize it, 
and his grasp was rendered more tenacious by his 
regard for the future, which the occupations of the 
present never blotted out. He might pass away but 
his work would remain. He may not have thought 
of it, but he was the John the Baptist of the Church 
in Colorado, to prepare the way for him who was 
to come and reign over the people as shepherd of the 
flock. Certain it is that he did not wish to be that 
one, although he probably hoped to be able to point 
him out, the greater than he, while he himself would 
remain as a voice crying in the wilderness until the 
end of his career. 

How did he accomplish so much of this work? 
Mostly by his zeal, his energy and his self-sacrifice. 
Once in his life, while in France, Father Machebeuf 
had the pittance of a salary; the remainder of his 
thirty years was given freely to the Church. He 
gave all to the Church in Ohio, in New Mexico, and 
what were his resources in Colorado? We have 
looked the matter up, and we find that ten dollars a 
Sunday will cover his Denver collections for these 
seven years. He had a few pews in his little church, 
but people paid, or neglected to pay, pew rent then 
as now. The combined collections at Christmas and 
Easter were about $500 annually, and he had a few 
festivals which netted from $400 to $1,400 each. 


Then take the cost of living when necessaries ranged 
from three to ten times the prices of to-day, and 
building material and labor were in proportion. We 
must wonder how he did so much, and secured and 
held so much property in so many places for the 
Church. If he and Father Eaverdy had but one 
overcoat to serve for both of them, it was not be- 
cause of positive poverty but of voluntary sacrifice 
for God. ' ' He must increase, but I must decrease. ' ' 
The subject of his supposed wealth will be treated 
later on. 

As a part of the Diocese of Santa Fe. Colorado 
was beginning to feel its disadvantages. The Mexican 
settlements of the south could well be administered 
from New Mexico, but the rest of the country had 
little in common with the Spanish civilization as it 
filtered northward through the Indian tribes of New 
Mexico. The origin of the people, their character 
and temperament and their aspirations were en- 
tirely different, and their commercial relations were 
in different directions. As Father Machebeuf had 
said, there was no love between the races, and no 
communication except such as was founded upon the 
pesos. New Mexico was Mexican, and Pike's Peak 
was American. Railroads from the East were hast- 
ening to connect this natural offshoot from Anglo- 
Saxon civilization with the parent stem, from which 
henceforth it would receive its social and business 
life. Under these conditions New Mexico could not 
be a proper training school for successful priests in 


The Fatliers of the First Plenary Council of 
Baltimore, in 1866, saw this, and petitioned the Prop- 
aganda to erect Colorado into a separate ecclesiasti- 
cal jurisdiction, and their judgment led them to pro- 
pose Father ^Machebeuf as their unanimous choice for 
the head of this Vicariate. Bishop Lamy was deputed 
to carry the decrees and recommendations of the 
Council to Rome for the approval of the Pope, and 
he did not leave Father Machebeuf in ignorance of 
these proceedings nor of their probable results. 
Father Machebeuf, however, spoke of these things 
only to his superiors, and to his most intimate 
friends who might advise him as to the course which 
he ought to pursue. His own relatives received the 
first news of it from Bishop Lamy while this prelate 
was in France on this occasion. Here is Father 
Machebeuf 's first communication to his family upon 
these matters : 

Denver, Sept. 13, 18G7. 
Very Dear Sister: 

I hasten to answer your last letter, dated Aug. 11, in which 
you ask me to relieve your anxiety caused by reports of misfor- 
tune to Bishop Lamy and his party. 

I am happy to announce to you that Bishop Lamy arrived 
safe in Santa Fe the very day you wrote to me. More tlian 2,000 
persons, with the Governor and civil authorities at their head, 
went out from the city to met him, and made his entry into the 
town a grand home-coming amid the ringing of bells and the 
joyful acclamations of the people. lie has written to me twice 
since. He was quite worn out, and sulYering in conse(iueiice of 
the fatigue, privations and dangers to which they were exposed. 
The Indians, to the number of nearly 300, at lacked them twice, 
but the men of the caravan were so well prepared to defend 
themselves that none of the Bishop's parly were killed, al- 
though several received slight wounds. The cholera, wliicli was 
very bad among them crossing the plains, was more deadly than 


the Indians, and carried off several persons, two of whom be- 
longed to the party of the Bishop. Sad to say, one of these was 
a young American Sister, eighteen years of age and a model of 
piety. She died partly of fright after the attack of the Indians. 
The other was an excellent young man of French descent who 
was accompanying Bishop Lamy to Santa Fe. As it is more 
than probable that Bishop Lamy has written and given you the 
details of his whole journey before now, I shall add nothing 

You know that three Spanish-speaking Jesuit Fathers, and a 
Belgian who speaks Spanish and French as well as English, have 
come with Bishop Lamy. The Belgian, whose name is De Blieck, 
is now giving a retreat to the Sisters at Santa Fe, and he will 
direct the retreat of the clergy in October. After that I expect 
this worthy Father, who was at one time president of the college 
in Cincinnati, and whom I knew there, to come to Denver. 

Do you ask what he will do in Denver? Notwithstanding 
the hesitation I feel in touching upon a question which is no 
longer a secret from you, I must say that the matter of a vicari- 
ate for Colorado seems to be settled. I have news from Bishop 
Lamy and others, and I only wait the return of the Archbishop 
of St. Louis from Rome for positive assurances that I am 
named to preside over it. I cannot commit to paper my feelings 
in the matter, nor the reasons which make me tremble at the 
thought of such a position being offered to me. I have already 
taken some steps to avoid it, and I intend to protest still more 
befoi-e things go too far, but if I am obliged to bend to the bur- 
den and accept the inevitable, Father De Blieck will take my 
place here in Denver and remain during the time when I shall 
necessarily be absent. I hope that Providence will dispose 
events so as to relieve me of this burden, for my responsibility 
is already too heavy, rendered so by personal and local consider- 
ations and circumstances which I may take occasion to explain 
to you when we are face to face. 

I have not yet received the things sent from France with 
Bishop Lamy, but Father Raverdy will bring them to me from 
Santa Fe when he returns from the retreat. 

Pray always for the poor cripple ! 


First Mission iu Denver.— Father De Blieck.— Official No- 
tice of Appointment as Bishop. — Fitness for the Work.— A Beg- 
ging Tour. — Consecration. — Return to Denver. — Reception. 
Responsibilities and Resources. — Episcopal Missionary Trips. 
To Central Citv.— To Conejos.— To Salt Lake City.— To Trini- 

Denver, April 14, 1868. 
Very Dear Sister: 

I received your very kind letter and that of my two dear 
nephews two months ago. Many times I was ui)on the point of 
answering them when something always occurred to prevent it. 
At one time it was some one coming to visit, at another it was 
pressing business affairs, etc., but I must write now that I am 
upon the eve of that temble journey to Cincinnati which I can 
put off no longer. 

The celebrated missionary. Father De Blieck, came to Den- 
ver over a month ago from Santa Fe, where he had preached 
several missions and retreats. He gave a mission in our prin- 
cipal mountain parish where I was with him for a week, and he 
began one here in Denver on Friday of Passion Week. Unfor- 
tunately he was taken very sick on the third day of the mission, 
and was in bed until Easter Sunday, when he managed to get up 
and hear mass. The work of finishing the mission fell upon me, 
and I did the best I could with two sermons a day. The good 
Father Raverdy came to assist me in hearing the confessions, 
but he has so little confidence in himself that I could not induce 
him to preach. Another young French priest, Father Matthonet, 
came from Santa Fe just before Christmas, but he does not 
know enough English yet to preach. In spite of the difficulties 
and fatigue I carried it through, thanks to Providence. We had 
large crowds, and a veiy large number approached the sacra- 
ments. My voice is somewhat husky, but otherwise I am feeling 
quite well. 

But I spoke to you of a journey. Father Cheymol, who is 
aware of all, must have written the news to Sister Clenience, but 
I cannot neglect telling you myself that two months ago today 
I received from Cardinal Barnabo the official notice of my ap- 
pointment as Vicar Apostolic of Colorado and Utah. The Bulls 
have not yet come, but I read today in the Catholic Telegraph 
of Cincinnati a copy of a letter from Rome which g^ves the title 



of each bishop-eleet, and that which falls to my heritage is 
Bishop of Epiphany in partibus infidelium. Although the facul- 
ties have not yet come, I must go immediately while the Jesuit 
Father is here to take charge of the parish. I shall have a great 
many things to arrange, and some embarrassing matters to set- 
tle — my debts, for instance, and to provide in a way for the 
future until I can get something from the Propagation of the 

You will tell my brother Marius and my nephews to have 
patience until after the ceremony of consecration, which will 
take place in Cincinnati, and I hope during the beautiful Month 
of Mary. If I can find a good priest to replace me here I shall 
start for Europe in October, but I cannot say for certain what 
Providence may determine. In the meanwhile you must not 
lose any time, but you and the Sisters must pray earnestly for 
me, and that the blessing of God may be on my future work. A 
diocese larger than the whole of France. 

Thank Marius and the others for the vestments, sacred ves- 
sels, altar linens, flowers, etc., which I have received. 

"The best laid schemes o' mice and men 
Gang aft agley." 

In these lines Burns expresses but a familiar 
truth, and it is always seen in the end when men's 
plans counter with the designs of Grod. Father 
Machebeuf had his feelings of opposition to accept- 
ing the burdens of the episcopate, but they were 
mingled with sentiments of resignation to Grod's will 
and to the designs of the Church. He had a filial 
reverence for authority during his whole life, and 
now, at the bidding of authority, he was ready to 
offer himself for this new sacrifice. We know not 
what steps he may have taken to avoid the honors 
and burdens of the episcopacy, but they were not 
successful. And who was better fitted for the work? 
The letter of Cardinal Barnabo, the Prefect of the 
Propaganda, was dated Jan. 24, 1868. The Brief 


erecting the vicariate was of March 3, 1868, and the 
Bulls appointing Father Machebeuf were dated 
March 16, 1868. 

The work of a bishop in Colorado was a con- 
tinuation of the same work which Father Machebeuf 
had been doing, with the addition of conferring those 
sacraments reserved to the episcopal order, and the 
responsibility of supplying priests for the new dio- 
cese. The administration of church affairs had been 
in his hands ; the acquisition of new properties and 
the formation of new parishes were his duties, and 
he had been doing everything that could be done to 
prepare for diocesan institutions, and to inaugur- 
ate them when possible. Any other, as bishop, would 
be obliged to pursue the same course, and it is 
doubtful if he could do so with more energy. The 
former missionaiy conditions had not passed away, 
and the new bishop must adopt the life of a travel- 
ing missionary. In all these things Father Mache- 
beuf had shown an admirable zeal and a fair judg- 
ment, and it would have been difficult to find an- 
other as well adapted for the actual work in Colo- 
ardo. From a human standjxjint it would seem that 
he was the logical successor in the episcopate of his 
position in the priesthood, and that the ''personal 
and local considerations and circumstances" of 
which he spoke had behind them his own humility as 
the foundation for his fears. But now Kome had 
spoken, — the die was cast, and the matter was set- 

Father Machebeuf started from Denver upon 


that "terrible journey" April 21, leaving Father 
De Blieck and Father Matthonet in charge of his 
parish, but neither of these remained until his re- 
turn. It was indeed a terrible journey when we 
think of its length in distance and time, and the ob- 
jects for which it was made. First and foremost 
was his consecration as bishop; then he wished to 
find priests who would come and labor in his vicar- 
iate, and last, but not least, he needed money, for he 
was in debt and his creditors were pressing him for 
money while he had not a sufficient amount to fur- 
nish his episcoi>al wardrobe and chapel. His jour- 
ney was literally a begging tour for men and means. 
The first stage of his journey was through Chey- 
enne, Omaha, Leavenworth and St. Louis to Cincin- 
nati. Here he made his first appeal for assistance, 
and he repeated it in Baltimore, Washington, Phil- 
adelphia, New York, Albany, Troy, Burlington, 
Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, Cleveland and in his old 
parish of Sandusky. At the seminaries in Cincin- 
nati, Baltimore, Emmetsburg, Philadeli^hia, Troy, 
Montreal and Cleveland he spoke to the students to 
inspire them with a desire for missionary life in the 
West. He also sought for priests who were already 
in the ministry, and in all these things his success 
was but limited. He sums up the results of a por- 
tion of his trip in the following letter to his brother : 

New York, July 8, 1868. 
Very Dear Brother : 

Finding myself separated from Clermont by a voyage of 
only ten or twelve days, I cannot continue my journey without 
bidding you good day in passing. My thoughts and my heart 


have often made the voyage between us, but I must wait till 
some unknown time in the future to make it in person, although 
the distance to you now is less than from here to Denver. 

I leave here tomorrow for Montreal. For two months I 
have been on the lookout for a good priest who understands 
English, and I shall not be consecrated until I find some sort of 
a \acar, even if I cannot make him my vicar-general as was 
my intention. After fifteen days spent in Cincinnati and Brown 
county T went to Baltimore, where I spent more than a month, 
then seven days in Philadelphia and twelve in New York, and in 
all these places the Most Rev. Archbishops received me most 

As you are a man of business I must tell you that in 1863-4, 
I exhausted all the resources of New Mexico to secure at Denver 
favorable locations for churches, schools, convents, hospitals, 
cemetery, etc., hoping that the increased Catholic immigration 
would furnish me the means of existence, but since the war the 
high taxes are ruining us. The Catholic population will increase 
notably only when the railroad comes. I was thus obliged to 
borrow money from the banks and from private individuals at 
very hidi rates of interest, and thus I have increased my in- 
debtedness to a considerable sum. I wished to concentrate all 
in the hands of one person at reasonable interest, but the ques- 
tion was to find that person. I brought with me titles and de- 
scriptions of all the properties, which I am willing to give as 
security, but the cai>italists did not appreciate their value. It 
was only here in New York that I succeeded in finding a man 
who would help me. He is an American and a good Catholic. 
He knew the value of the church holdings at Denver and in the 
vicinity, and he assisted me greatly in my present difficulties. 
Besides this, I have made many interested visits, and managed 
to collect over $000 for my missions and a number of presents of 
things necessary for a bishop. 

Father Maoliebenf gives us here the key to the 
cause of his financial troubles. To secure and hold 
property for the church he had borrowed money, 
and the interest and taxes were eating hiin uji. His 
accounts show that more than one usurious money- 
lender made a small fortune by the necessities of the 
Church in Colorado, and none of them liad any 


scruple in demanding the highest rates of interest 
possible from Father Machebeuf in his difficulties. 
Father Machebeuf was a good collector, and this 
sum of $600 represented the fruits of his appeals in 
different churches, and donations from special 
friends and others to whom he had letters of recom- 
mendation. He made a good impression wherever 
he went, and his story of his missions found inter- 
ested listeners. At Baltimore he met Bishop-elect 
Gibbons, and he was present at the consecration of 
Bishop McQuaid in New York, and he made a large 
number of acquaintances whose friendship he after- 
wards spoke of with pleasure. His journey from 
New York took him as far north as Montreal and 
then down to Cleveland, from which place he wrote 
the following letter : 

Cleveland, July 29, 1868. 
Very Dear Sister: 

I am here with Bishop Eappe since Sunday. I have been 
obliged to postpone my consecration until August 16, to give me 
time to find a good priest, as I told Marius, and I have not yet 
succeeded in my search. I found several French and Irish 
students, but they cannot be ordained before two or three 
years. Several zealous priests offered to devote themselves to 
the missions in Colorado, but they could not get the consent of 
their bishops, all of whom complain of the lack of good pi'iests. 

Tomorrow I go to Sandusky. The pastor himself came to 
me with the invitation, and I cannot refuse my old parishioners. 
Next week I shall be in Cincinnati and shall go to visit the 
Motherhouse of the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky, to see if I 
can get two or three more Sisters. Then I shall go to the Trap- 
pists, who have a fine house close by at a place called Gethse- 
mane. There I shall make my retreat and return to Cincinnati 
for the Assumption and the consecration. 

As I have other letters to write, and it is near midnight, I 
must make this short, but I hold to telling you the exact day of 
my consecration that you and all the nuns and pupils may pray 


fervently that I may be worthy to receive the graces of the 
Holy Ghost. After the consecration I shall send to all of you 
my episcopal benediction. 

This program was carried out. On the day he 
wrote this letter he first donned the purple robes of 
a bishop, and thus received the profession of several 
nuns at the Ursuline Convent of Cleveland, sang 
the high mass and gave the benediction with the Sit 
nomen Domini, etc., but his voice choked and almost 
failed him in the emotions of this new experience. 

At his old parish in Sandusky he had a magnifi- 
cent reception from his former parishioners. His 
four days among them was a continual ovation, and 
he left them with an additional $180 in his purse. 

At Columbus he spent a day with Bishop Eose- 
crans, then two days in Cincinnati making final ar- 
rangements, and when he arrived at Loretto the 
Sisters complained because he could give them only 
three hours after they had waited three months for 
his coming. His retreat was made under the Trap- 
pist Father Jerome, and at its conclusion he went 
to Cincinnati where his consecration took place on 
Sunday, Aug. 16, 1868. Archbishop Purcell was the 
consecrating prelate, assisted by Bishops Rappe and 
De Goesbriand, and in the sanctuary were Bishops 
Rosecrans and Carrell and many priests. His first 
mass as bishop was said at the Convent of the Sis- 
ters of Notre Dame, and his emotion was so great 
that it was with difficulty that he finished the Holy 

Three days after his consecration Bishop 


Machebeuf was on his way to his diocese. At St. 
Louis he was joined by five Sisters of Loretto. From 
Leavenworth he sent to his relatives in France his 
episcopal benediction accompanied by the following 
touching words : 

May the good God grant you health and prosiDerity, and 
above all, the fidelity to fulfill all your religious duties. May 
Divine Providence protect all of you and preserve you for many 
years in peace, in union, and in the grace of God. May Our 
Lord nourish and increase in my dear Jules these first inclina- 
tions and the blessed dispositions to consecrate himself to the 
service and glory of God and the salvation of souls. Bishop 
Lamy left at the seminary in Baltimore a nephew for his eccle- 
siastical education — how happy I would be if one daj^ I could 
have near me one of my dear nephews as a help and consolation 
to his bishop-uncle who begins to feel the weight of his infinn- 
ities, but whose health and courage, thanks to God, are not 
failing. I close by wishing all of you a thousand blessings. 

Eight short months later Bishop Machebeuf had 
occasion to write another letter, and we anticipate 
here to give an extract from it referring to his dear 
nephew from whom he hoped for help and consola- 

After the terrible blow which has fallen upon us in the 
death of our dear Jules, I feel the need of assuring you of my 
sincerest affection and my deepest feeling of sympathy in the 
great sorrow which has come upon you. It is my sorrow also, 
for he was Tny Jules, and you know he gave himself to me with 
such a good heart. In the midst of my grave obligations and 
heavy occuiDations tears found time to flow in abundance, and 
I did not fail to offer the Holy Sacrifice for him and for your 
consolation. What can I say to you but to counsel resignation 
to the ways of Providence. What we deplore as a misfortune 
and a real loss for us, is certainly a gi-eat happiness for our 
dear Jules, who had already, in answer to the appeal which I 
made to his affection and his zeal, made the sacrifice of himself. 
You sanctioned and blessed his resolution, and gave him to me 
for God's service. He belonged no longer to you nor to his 
country, and God has accepted his double sacrifice and with- 


drawn him from the world before he could know its dan^rers 
to reward his pious intentions. I must offer this saeritice and 
he is my victim. May this victim draw down the blessins^s of 
God upon my heavy labors in the be<rinning of my new office as 
shepherd of a larfjer flock, and may the sacrifice increase in all 
of us that lively faith which reminds us that Ave are but 
stranjifers and pilgrims on earth, far from our true country. In 
taking away from us so soon those whom we love, God wishes 
to detach us from all that is perishable, and to teach us to fix 
our eyes, our thoughts and our affections ujwn heaven. "For 
where your treasure is, there will your heart he also." 

From Leavenworth the Bishop and his party 
continued their journey to Omaha, and thence to 
Cheyenne by rail. They left Cheyenne by coach on 
the evening of August 28, and arrived at Denver the 
following afternoon almost worn out but happy to 
be at their journey's end. 

A reception had been prepared for the Bishop 
upon his arrival, and an address of welcome was 
made by General Bela M. Hughes on the part of the 
Catholics of Denver. The reception was partici- 
pated in by the clergy, the Sisters, and the people ir- 
respective of religious affiliations, but the demon- 
stration lacked the spectacular feature which marked 
the recei)tions given to him and Bishop Lamy at 
kSanta Fe, yet a small delegation headed by Father 
Raverdy, the Sisters of Loretto and a number of 
prominent citizens met him several miles outside of 
Denver and made his entry into his episcopal city a 
somewhat notable event. The representation of the 
clergy was necessarily small, consisting only of 
Father Baverdy, who came from Central City for 
the purjx)se. It could not well have been much 
larger, for there were but three priests in his vast 


vicariate, and the other two were hundreds of miles 
distant on the borders of New Mexico. In all his 
travels Bishop Machebeuf had found but one priest 
to accompany him to Colorado, Father 'Keef e, and 
his stay was only about a year. Bishop Machebeuf 
arrived home on Saturday, and on Sunday he en- 
tered upon his duties as Vicar Apostolic of Colorado 
and Utah by celebrating Pontifical Mass, preaching 
a sermon and again ofiQciating at Pontifical Ves- 

From what has been said in the foregoing pages 
we are able to form a fairly correct idea of the cir- 
cumstances in which Bishop Machebeuf found him- 
self at the beginning of his episcopal administration. 
His responsibility was limited only by the bound- 
aries of two large Territories, his flock was scat- 
tered at intervals over nearly all their extent and 
many of the gaps were beginning to fill up. For 
helpers he had but three priests outside of Denver, 
and each of these had more work than he could do 
well in his own district. In every camp, town and 
growing settlement something ought to be done as 
a beginning of church work, and alone he could do 
but little, for his office as Bishop made him hasten 
from place to place to administer confirmation over 
most of this territory where no bishop had ever vis- 
ited. He was almost without funds, and in debt, 
but he had an unbounded zeal, an unconquerable de- 
termination, a courage that could not be shaken and 
a faith in Providence which would lead him to ask 
the removal of a mountain if he thought it an ob- 


stacle in the way of duty. But he was responsible 
only for what he could do and God must take care 
of the rest. 

One week was all that Bishop Machebeuf gave 
himself to recuperate from the fatigues of his four 
months of travel. His first visit was to his principal 
parish of Central City. Here the good people organ- 
ized a reception, and Mrs. J. B. Sutton on the part 
of the ladies of the congregation presented him with 
a fine gold watch as a token of their respect and es- 
teem. Returning to Denver he loaded his traveling 
carriage with the necessary baggage and provisions, 
and with his faithful driver, Billy Moore, set out, 
Sept. 17, on his first extended pastoral visit. 

He first made his usual tour of the South Park, 
and crossed over the mountain pass to the head of 
California Gulch, Continuing his way down the 
Arkansas river he passed through the various camps 
to South Arkansas — now Salida. Here he found a 
camp of 800 Ute Indians, who laid before him their 
usual complaint of being hungry. The Bishop divid- 
ed his little stock of provisions very sparingly with 
the chief and proceeded on his journey, which lay 
this time up the South Arkansas river, across the 
Poncha Pass and down into the head of the San 
Luis valley in the direction of Saguache. From 
Saguache he went to Fort Garland, and then wan- 
dered about in different directions for ten days to 
visit every hamlet and settlement in that part of 
the valley. At every place the people gave him a lit- 
tle reception of welcome, and frequently this took 


place in the middle of the road, because there was no 
room in their little cabins for such a ceremony. He 
put them to no trouble about lodging him, unless 
when he came to the house of some Don, for he car- 
ried his usual camp furniture with him, including 
even his shaving utensils which he often used while 
making his camp toilet. 

During the trip he said mass, heard confessions, 
gave confirmation, preached and lectured, chose lo- 
cations for chapels and formed committees to build 
them, blessed cemeteries and bells, and any and 
every sort of work which a traveling missionary 
bishop could be imagined to do among a population 
of that kind. Lest it should be thought that he re- 
quired very little instruction for confirmation, it 
may be noted here that among the Mexicans the cus- 
tom obtains of confirming children even before they 
have come to the use of reason, and Bishop Mache- 
beuf confirmed 145 such children on this trip. 

At the southerly extremity of his diocese he al- 
lowed himself a slight diversion and continued his 
journey farther southward to spend a few days with 
Bishop Lamy and his old friends among the priests 
of New Mexico. At Arroyo Hondo, Father Ussel 
had gathered a company of ten priests in anticipa- 
tion of the Bishop's arrival, and the occasion was a 
happy one when these grown up children met their 
old spiritual father, who could be as much of a child 
as any of them. 

From here he went to Santa Fe for a couple of 
days, and then started on his way to Denver again. 


The return trip was made along the old familiar 
grounds of the upper Las Animas, the Huerfano, 
Greenhorn, San Carlos, etc., and his work was a 
rei)etition of that in the San Luis valley. It is pos- 
sible that he visited every known Catholic family 
in the entire section. Two days he spent at Pueblo 
and one at Colorado City. His friends at Colorado 
City endeavored to dissuade him from setting out 
alone for Denver, as Indians were reported to be 
prowling around and stories of their depredations 
were being told, but Bishop Machebeuf made light of 
the danger, saying that the Indians would not hurt 
him. Afterwards when he spoke of the fears of the 
people he said: ** Indian scare! Why, I saw only 
five Indians ! ' ' 

Just eight weeks from the day he set out 
Bishop Machebeuf returned to Denver. We might 
expect him now to interrupt his travels and go into 
winter quarters, but Bishop Machebeuf had no win- 
ter quarters, and he would not have occupied them if 
he had them. Ten days later we find him setting 
out for Salt Lake City, to carry some of the conso- 
lations of religion to those of his flock who lived in 
the stronghold of the Mormons. 

He left Denver by stage coach on Nov. 23, and 
at two o'clock the following morning he arrived in 
Cheyenne. There he could find no bed at any of the 
hotels, but, luckily, a former neighbor of his at Den- 
ver had lately moved to Cheyenne, a Mr. Wm. Row- 
land, and upon hunting him up the Bishop found a 
welcome and a warm bed for the rest of the night. 


From Cheyenne he had the regular train on the 
Union Pacific railroad as far as Laramie, which was 
as far as the road was open for traffic at that time. 
The construction train carried him to G-reen Eiver 
where he again took the stage. Arriving at Fort 
Bridger at eleven o 'clock at night he found no hotel, 
but managed to get a good sleep lying upon sacks 
of grain in a store wrapped in his buffalo robe. 
From here it was the coach again for two days, over 
mountain ranges where the piercing night wind 
chilled the bones, and through canons where the sun 
seldom penetrated at that season of the year, and 
all this time he sat outside with the driver, who he 
says was very sociable, leaving the inside of the 
coach to those more delicate, or more selfish. 

At Echo City there was a change of drivers, 
and Bishop Machebeuf regretted it until he found 
that his new driver was none other than Bill Up- 
dyke, the famous whip who had often driven him 
over the mountains in Colorado. With him he fin- 
ished his journey and arrived at Salt Lake City at 
four o'clock p. m, on Saturday after six days of 

On Sunday morning he was escorted to Fort 
Douglas by General Connor, the commanding of- 
ficer, where he said mass and remained as a guest 
for a week. Every day, except one when he was not 
well, he said mass and lectured at night. He also 
prepared a class for confirmation among the sold- 
iers and administered the sacrament the following 


From the fort he visited Salt Lake and sought 
out the few Catholic families there. He also met 
Brigham Young and other dignitaries of the Mor- 
mon church, as well as many of the prominent citi- 
zens, of all of whom he afterwards spoke very fa- 
vorably. He could not speak highly enough of the 
kind treatment accorded him at the fort by Gen. 
Connor, Colonels Lewis and Reynolds, Capt. So- 
bieski, Sergt. Keller and the ladies of the fort. 

At Salt Lake he found ground for a church with 
a house on it, but as yet there was no church build- 
ing. The house was occupied by a Catholic family 
named Carroll, who, with three other families, con- 
stituted the settled Catholic population of Salt Lake 
City. On three days of the following week he said 
mass at the house of a Mr. Marshall for the bene- 
fit of his little flock, and for the edification of a num- 
ber of Mormon ladies whom curiosity or some other 
motive brought to witness the services. He also 
baptized three children in the family of a Mr. Sloan, 
and one in another family, and he had two mar- 
riages on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. 

On Thursday, Dec. 10, he started on his return 
trip in a blinding snow storm, but, owing to delays, 
he did not reach Fort Bridger until noon on Mon- 
day. The most serious mishap of the trip was the 
upsetting of the coach in Bear River at eleven 
o'clock at night on Friday, and the rest of the night 
was spent by the passengers drying their wet 
clothes at the next stage station. 

At Fort Bridger he was kindly received by 


Colonel Morrow and Judge Carter. He said mass 
here and performed a baptism and a marriage. An- 
other day was spent at Carter's Station because he 
was too late for the construction train, and still an- 
other among the railroaders at Bryant, and then 
the ride of 22 hours to Cheyenne. On the train he 
met Father Kelly of the Vicariate of Nebraska, who 
was visiting the men along the railroad, and whose 
duties had formerly taken him on several occasions 
as far as Salt Lake City. 

It was now Friday, and, although the weather 
was bitter cold, Bishop Machebeuf took the coach 
that night for his ride of over 100 miles to Denver. 
A few days before some thief had stolen his cloak, 
and when he arrived in Denver he was sutfering 
from a cold, yet he was in the pulpit on Sunday, but 
for two days afterwards he was in bed and unable 
to say mass. 

One more trip remained to complete the visita- 
tion of the diocese, and Bishop Machebeuf made 
that from Feb. 9 to Feb. 27. During that time he 
visited Trinidad and the neighboring missions, and 
also the stations between them and Denver. Thus, 
in the first six months of his episcopate, Bishop 
Machebeuf made a complete visitation of his vast 
vicariate, and traveled over 2600 miles, nearly two- 
thirds of which distance was made in his own con- 


Priests and Their Locations. — Fire at St. Mary's Academy. 
Bishop Starts for Europe. — P^'irst Students. — Father Bouchet of 
Louisville. — Bishop Goes to Rome. — Visits Ireland. — Business 
and Sociability. — First Priests Ordained. — Returns with New 
Priests. — Ordains Future Bishop of the Santa J\' Trail. — New 
House. — Church Enlarged. — Various Crosses and Disappoint- 
ments.— French Sympathies. — Utah Transferred.— Conditions 
at the Close of 187i. 

Tlie duties of Bishop Machebeuf prevented him 
from taking his proposed trip to Europe in October, 
but circumstances were more favorable in the spring 
of 1869. He secured tlie services of three j)riests, at 
least temporarily, and a fouitli wouhl be ordained in 
June. Fathers Munnecom, Merle and Eolly were in 
charge respectively of the missions of Trinidad, Cos- 
tilla and Conejos, Father Raverdy was at Central 
City, and at Denver Father O'Keeffe assisted tlie 
Bishop, as also for a time did Father H. Bourion, 
while Father Robert A. Garassu would come fi-om 
Baltimore immediately after liis ordination. Father 
Garassu was ordained June 30, 1869, by Archbishop 
Spalding, and was the first ])riest ordained for Colo- 
rado. These could do the essential work now while 
the Bi-shop would go to secure other priests and 
more abundant means to meet the growing wants of 
his vicariate. 

The partial destruction by fire of St. Mary's 
Academy, while Bishop Machebeuf was saying mass 
on Sunday, April 18, came near interfering with his 
plans, but he secured at once the willing help of 


many sympatliiziiig friends who contributed freely, 
not only to repair the damage but also to enlarge the 
building. This caused a short delay, but it was suf- 
ficiently long to prevent him accompanying his old 
friend, Father Salpointe of Mora, New Mexico, on 
this same journey to France. Father Salpointe had 
been appointed Vicar Apostolic of Arizona, and, de- 
siring to be consecrated in France, he made the trip 
by the way of Denver, hoping to make the rest of it 
in the company of Bishop Machebeuf. The Bishop- 
elect could not wait, and Bishop Machebeuf, com- 
menting on his haste, said : 

Bishop Salpointe may have special reasons for wishing to 
arrive in France before me. He will have his choice of mis- 
sionaries and I shall come only to glean. But I shall not be 
very exacting at Clermont. I need French priests, but I need 
Irish and German priests more. 

Bishop Machebeuf left Denver, May 3, 1869, 
taking the coach to meet the train at Sheridan, Kan- 
sas. Stopping a day at St. Mary's and another at 
Topeka, he went to Leavenworth, where he found 
Bishop Miege quite unwell. To accommodate this 
prelate he delayed a few days and gave confirmation 
at Lawrence and Prairie City, and then proceeded 
on his way to St. Louis. From St. Louis he went to 
Cape Girardeau, where he found a young student, 
Mr. Henry Robinson, willing to face missionary life 
in Colorado. At Cairo he visited the Sisters of 
Loretto, and from there he went to Louisville, Ky. 
Here he called upon Bishop McCloskey and a former 
friend and fellow-countryman. Father Bouchet, then 
chancellor of the Diocese of Louisville. 


With Father Boiichct, Bishop Machebeuf vis- 
ited St. Thomas' Seminary at Bardstown, and tlie 
Sisters of Loretto at the Motherhouse. At St. Thom- 
as' he had already one student, and he endeavored to 
enlist the co-oi)eration of others, but previous obli- 
gations prevented them from offering their services, 
although several were strongly so inclined. 

During this part of his trip Father Machebeuf 
was in very good spirits, for he was confident that 
he had at last secured a priest after his own heart. 
The Rev. Michael Bouchet was born in Clermont, 
France, not far from Bishop Machebeuf 's own home. 
In 1853, while in deacon's orders, he came with 
Bishop Spalding of Louisville to work upon the 
Kentucky missions. The missionary spirit was still 
strong in him, and when Bishop Machebeuf, for 
whom he had great regard, told him his story of the 
Western missions, this spirit blazed up afresh aiid 
he offered himself for this new field. Bishop Mach- 
ebeuf was happy in the thought of securing the ser- 
vices of such a priest. He had been on the search 
for just such an assistant before his consecration, 
and he now offered to make him liis vicar-general 
upon his arrival in Colorado. The offer of the honor 
had, probably, little to do with Father Bouchet 's res- 
olution, as he never was a man to care specially for 
honors, but it might have had some influence with 
Bishop McCloskey, who, if the circumstances had 
been properly explained to him, would have seen 
that this was but a step to possible higher honors. 
As it was. Father Bouchet did not get the necessary 


permission from Bishop McCloskey, and lie lived on 
in Kentucky until a few years ago, when he died a 
Eight Rev. Prelate of the Church and Vicar General 
of the Diocese of Louisville. How small a thing 
may turn the course of events and change the history 
of men and countries ! 

At Cincinnati Bishop Machebeuf conferred the 
order of deaconship on a number of young ecclesias- 
tics, and, with the permission of Archbishop Purcell, 
he spoke to the students in the seminary, telling them 
of his need of priests, and depicting the life of a 
missionary among the Rocky Mountains. The result 
of this appeal was that two young men offered them- 
selves to serve in his missions if the Lord would 
spare them to be ordained. One of these became so 
terrified later by the imaginary dangers pictured to 
him by his fellow-students, who in pretended seri- 
ousness told him of the Indians, how they would 
scalp him, tie him to a tree and dance the war dance 
around him while burning fagots were roasting him 
to death, etc., that he left the seminary and became 
a farmer. It was, perhaps, the best he could do, for 
his mind was not well balanced. We say this with 
no intention of reflecting upon the farmer. The 
other young man was not disturbed by these wild 
tales, but persevered in his first resolution, went to 
Colorado, and is now the distinguished occupant of 
the Episcopal See of Denver. 

Bishop Machebeuf again visited the seminaries 
at Baltimore, Philadelphia and Troy, but with no 
better success than upon his visits the year previous. 


The aspirations of young men brought up so far 
East did not seem to harmonize with the Bishop's 
pictures of clerical life and labor in the Far West. 
With nothing more to delay him, Bishop Machebeuf 
sailed from New York and arrived at Brest in 
France, June 21. 

His visit to France was priuci})ally for business 
and he set about it at once. The day after his ar- 
rival he was at the seminary in Rennes looking for 
recruits ; two days later he was taking up collections, 
and three days later still we find him at the Bureau 
of the Propagation of the Faith pleading the neces- 
sities of his missions. At the home of his relatives 
he spent but very little time before turning towards 
Rome to visit the Holy Father. The following ex- 
tracts from letters written to Father Raverdy will 
give us an idea of his work : 

Clermont, Aug. 20, 1869. 
Reverend and Beloved Friend : 

At last I can write asjain to you. Since my last from 
Lyons it has been almost impossible to write to anyone. I com- 
mence by tellini; you that I am, and always have been well since 
I left Paris, but instead of finding any rest at hi)nie, I am over- 
crowded with a thousand things. I never was so busy receiving 
and returning visits, attending dinners which I cannot refuse, 
officiating, preaching, presiding at distributions of premiums, 
etc., and it is only late at night that I can find time to say my 
office and other prayers. 

At Clermont I found Bishop Salpointe who had delayed his 
consecration two or three weeks for me, but as I could not ar- 
rive in time, he was consecrated on June 20, the day previous to 
my landing at Brest. As he was also waiting for me to go to 
Rome, I spent but one day at Riom with my sister, and two 
days at Clermont. We started on Sunday, July 11, after I had 
officiated and triven confirmation in the college at Riom, where 
I studied nearly forty years ago. We spent three or four days 
at Lyons and Fourvierc, visited Chambery, the Graiul Char- 


treuse and Annecy, and went through the Mont Cenis tunnel to 
Turin, then to Aneona, Loreto and finally Rome, where we ar- 
rived on the 23rd of July. We spent twelve days in Rome and 
had the happiness of seeing the Holy Father three times. We 
came back to Lyons through Pisa, Florence, Milan, the Simplon 
and Geneva. 

From the information you give me of your plan for a big 
store, hospital and church at Central City, I see that there is 
but a very poor chance of doing anything this year. Circum- 
stances will change and times will be better. It would be im- 
prudent to commence at present. We must follow Providence, 
not go ahead of it. This is the advice of St. Francis of Sales, 
and God will speak by events. I am doing my best to borrow 
from some friends, and I hope to succeed so as to pay off some 
of my debts and commence to build a house on the church lot in 
Denver. Don't let the congregation build anything by way of 
a surprise. Their plans might not suit — but I believe there is 
no danger of their building anything the wrong way or the 
right way, or any way. I cannot start for home before the end 
of October. 

Sept. 10.— I am very much grieved to hear that your health 
is failing. God help us. If the air of Central City is too light 
for you, why don 't you move to Denver, at least for a time, and 
take mj-" room ? Send Father Garassu to Central City until I re- 
turn. I have written another letter to Father Bouchet of Cler- 
mont, now chancellor of Louisville, to start before me to Denver 
if he can get leave from his bishop, and he thinks he can. I am 
sorry that I am detained so long, but I cannot help it. I must 
wait until the opening of the seminaries, the colleges and the 
academies in order to get some means from the boarders. I 
have not lost my time, for if I have to officiate, preach and ac- 
cept dinners, I make them pay pretty well for it. I will not go 
until I succeed in negotiating a loan for a good sum. My 
brother will be my security. I must build or buy a house. I 
have just received notice that the Propagation of the Faith will 
allow me 25,000 francs! 

I have written to Carlow and to All Hallows' in Ireland, 
and to Louvain, inquiring for a few pious and disinterested 
young priests or students. I expect answers in a few days, and 
then I shall know whether there is any hope or not from these 
directions. Bishop Salpointe will sail in a few days with five 
deacons or sub-deacons. God bless you! 

The information from Ireland was rather en- 


couragring, and Bishop Machebeuf went to Dublin. 
He spent the last week of September visiting All 
Hallows', Maynooth, Carlow, Kilkenny and Water- 
ford. At all these colleges he received offers of 
young men, but in the cases of most of them the ex- 
penses were beyond his means. The actual fruit of 
this trip was one priest, and one student whom he 
sent to Rome. 

Bishop ^lachebeuf 's visits to the various relig- 
ious institutions and social gatherings in France 
were made interesting by his descriptions of mis- 
sionary life, and he scarcely ever failed to excite the 
charity of his listeners, who generally contributed 
from a few francs up into the hundreds to the cause 
of the missions. Sometimes, but not often, he en- 
countered a religious superior whose formal polite- 
ness chilled him, and several of these are designated 
in his diary as "cold," "haughty"! 

In his ancestral parish of Volvic where his 
father was bora and many of his relatives still lived, 
he officiated on Sept. 5, at the laying of the corner- 
stone of a new church. The old church had served 
its time and was being replaced by a new one, but 
for some reason this new church was planned to be 
of rough uncut rubble. A vast concourse of people 
graced the occasion, but it was also to do honor to 
one whom they considered a child of the parish, and 
had come from the far-off wilds of America for the 
ceremony. The Prefect, the Mayor and all the pub- 
lic functionaries were there, and our humble Bishop 
was the lion of the day. After the Pontifical Mass 


he thanked the dignitaries and congratulated the 
people, and went on with his sermon, but in a 
changed strain. He expressed astonishment and re- 
gret that they, in the midst of quarries where stone 
was cut for their Cathedral, and for monuments and 
churches around them, could not afford cut stone for 
their church from their own quarries when parishes 
half their size were sending to them for cut stone 
for their churches. He was but a poor missionary- 
bishop, and must borrow money to return to his 
rough board episcopal palace and his little brick 
cathedral 30x40, but he would donate the corner- 
stone of a church worthy of them. The plans were 
changed, and when Bishop Machebeuf visited Volvic 
again ten years later he found a beautiful church of 
cut stone and the people thanked him for it. 

When ready to return to America, Bishop 
Machebeuf had secured two priests whom he or- 
dained the day previous to his sailing at Eennes, 
Fathers Joseph Percevault and Francis Guyot; one 
deacon, Philibert Domergue of St. Flour, and the 
Rev. Thomas McGrath, who was to sail from Water- 
ford, Ireland, and join him on the way to Denver. 

The voyage was unpleasant for most of the pas- 
sengers, for the weather was very rough during a 
great part of the time and many were sick, but 
Bishop Machebeuf was a good sailor as usual and 
was not called upon even for the accustomed "resti- 
tutions." He said mass whenever the weather per- 
mitted, and the last Sunday of the voyage, when the 
weather was fine and the passengers had recovered 


from their indisposition, a large congregation as- 
sisted at the mass, singing hymns and listening at- 
tentively to the sermon which he preached to them 
in French. A further sketch of his journey he gives 
in a letter to his l)rotlier, written a few weeks later, 
from which we copy : 

Embarked at Brest Nov. 6, landed in New York Nov. 17, 
we arrived at Denver Dec. 5, a little tired, but all in good health. 
Two days were spent in New York, four in Cincinnati and 
Brown county, two in St. Louis and one at Sheridan, Kansas. 
Not having received in time the letter of Father Raverdy upon 
the subject of the lines of railroad west of the Missouri, I was 
led into error by the agents of the railroads and others, and we 
took tickets for the Kansas Pacific, which is still 225 miles from 
Denver, and we had to make that distance by stage, while the 
Union Pacific is finished to within 45 miles of Denver. Apart 
from the fatigue, and the loss of time in the slow coaches, we 
suffered no great inconvenience. Most of the baggage arrived 
before Christmas, but that was soon enough, and I could use my 
gold vestments on that solemn occasion. Other boxes with 
candelabra, altar vases and the like are still on the way, but 
I expect them at any moment. The young Irish priest joined us 
at St. Louis. I have him with me here and I am very much 
pleased with him. 

The Bishop did not mention the many little 
troubles he had making the way clear and smooth for 
his almost helpless companions, nor did he tell of the 
few hours delay at Leavenworth where he ordained 
his first priests in America. It was the morning of 
the 29th of November that he reached Leavenworth, 
and he left it the evening of the same day, but in the 
interval he officiated at the Cathedral, with his old 
friend of Indian missionary fame. Father De Smet, 
as assistant priest, and ordained to the ])riesthood 
the Rev. W. J. Dalton, at present a pastor in Kansas 


City, Mo., and the Rev. J. J. Hennessey, now the 
Bishop of Wichita. 

It is a somewhat remarkable incident in our 
growing civilization that Bishop Machebeuf should 
ordain a priest and live to see him a bishop in a flour- 
ishing city of 20,000 inhabitants situated midway on 
that Slanta Fe Trail, which he himself had traveled 
so often while the wild beasts and the untamed sav- 
ages were roaming its entire length at will, and had 
done so for ages before, with prospects of doing so 
for long years to come. 

Bishop Machebeuf was in a happy mood when 
he greeted his people on the Sunday following his 
return home. He told them of his joy at being again 
with them, and also of his regret at not being able 
to attend the Vatican Council just opening, but that 
the Holy Father had dispensed him in view of the 
necessity of his presence at home, and he made the 
sacrifice cheerfully, and for them gave up the honor 
of being a member of the most august assemblage 
ever gathered together. He told them how happy 
he was to have brought four new priests to help him 
in the diocese, but how it pained him to have no ^Dlace 
to lodge them decently. He said the time was come 
when a new house was a crying necessity, and urged 
them to an active and liberal effort in providing 
shelter for their priests, who, for lack of better ac- 
commodations, were living in rooms little better 
than closets and sleeping upon the floor. He told 
them that his trip had cost him $4,000, only a small 
portion of which he had collected, and the balance 
of the expense must be borne by the diocese. 


His appeal was not witliout effect, for a good 
collectioD was given at Christmas, subscription lists 
were prepared, and plans were made for a festival. 
With these good prospects the building of a portion 
of a fit residence was begun, and this portion was 
finished, furnished and occupied by the end of May, 
at the cost of about $4,500. 

Tlie new French priests were soon located in 
the southern part of the diocese, and as each mis- 
sion was organized Bishop Afachebeuf went with the 
new missionary to install him in his new position 
and initiate him into his special work. Father Mc- 
Grath, because he spoke Englsh, was kept in Denver, 
and Father Bourion was given charge of the mis- 
sions of Utah. 

Some of the priests who had promised to come 
failed to do so and disappointed him, even after he 
had been at considerable expense for them, and 
some of those who came from various places were a 
still greater disappointment to him, and he was glad 
to get rid of them. Xor were all the good and will- 
ing ones adapted for such a life as a priest must lead 
in this new country, and for all these reasons there 
was a constant coming and going of priests during 
the early years of Bishop Macliebeuf's episcopate 
which was very trying on the Bishop and productive 
of little good among the people. 

The railroads reached Denver in 1870, and with 
them came a great increase in the population of the 
entire Territory. The church at Denver became 
altogether too small to accommodate the congrega- 


tion, and Bishop Macliebeuf began the enlarging of 
it the next winter. It was extended to the street in 
front and a tower was built, chapels were added at 
both sides and the roof was raised nine feet above 
the original structure to give it the proper propor- 
tions. It was his intention to add transepts and 
sanctuary, but means were lacking and this part of 
his plan was postponed and never realized. His let- 
ters during this period show the trend of his efforts, 
his hopes and his fears : 

I am receiving letters from all parts of the two Territories 
asking for priests. I am organizing two new parishes, and I 
have applied for the Sisters of Charity for a hospital, but this 
is a heavy expense and my house will cost a good sum. For 
the house I count upon you to boiTow some money for me. — (To 
his brother, Jan. 3, 1870). 

The two priests from Rennes are in their missions for some 
time, also the one from Lyons who came ahead of me. I have 
with me the young Irish priest, and Father Domergue, whom 
you saw. I could not get Father Bouchet, as his bishop would 
not let him go, at least for the present. Bishop Lamy wrote me 
that he would return in May, and this will be a good oppor- 
tunity for you to send me, if possible, 10,000 or 12,000 francs. 
I had to borrow money at high interest to finish my house. — (To 
the same, April 20, 1870). 

I am happy to be able to tell you that Father Raverdy will 
probably go to Europe in the autumn, or the beginning of win- 
ter. He has now been ten years laboring with zeal and courage 
in Colorado— in the valley, in the mountains and everywhere. 
A stay in France, in Belgium, perhaps in Germany, hut surely 
in Rome, without forgetting Auvergne, where I know he will be 
received as he deserves for all the services which he has ren- 
dered to nie as a veritable friend— all this will bring back his 
strength and enable him, perhaps, to recruit a few new laborers 
and some additional means for our immense Diocese of Colo- 
rado. For a long time I hesitated to dispense, even for a short 
time, with his services and his vigilance. I was afraid. But 
Providence is working out things slowly, yet favorably. 

Oil) Caihkdkai, ai Dknvir. 


It is true that I have many embarrassments and contra- 
dictions. I could not get Father Bouchet of Louisville. His 
Bishop has learned to appreciate him and will not give him up 
at present. Upon starting for Europe the Bishop told him that 
he would, perhaps, gi-ant the permission if he could get a good 
number of priests there for his diocese. You see, then, that his 
coming rests only on a perhaps. 

A young German student, almost ready to be ordained, let 
himself be frightened at the thought of the dangers and diffi- 
culties of the ministry here and refused to come. Among five 
or six priests of different nationalities who offered themselves, 
I chose two who were well recommended, but I found that they 
could not be relied upon, and I was obliged to send them away 
after I had spent about $300 upon them. Even my young 
priest, Domergue, played an ugly trick u|ion me. While wait- 
ing his turn for a place in the Mexican portion of the Diocese, 
he became discouraged and ran away with the intention of 
joining the Trappists. The Bishop of Omaha stopped him and 
sent him back to me, ashamed and repentant. He is good and 
pious, but he has too little confidence in himself. In a few daj's 
I shall take him and place him as an assistant in a good Mexi- 
can parish. 

Father Bourion, whom I sent among the Mormons, could 
not get a living there and has returned. I intend to send him 
to Central City and bring Father Raverdy to Denver as my man 
of confidence, and as soon as I can find some one to fill his place 
he will start for Europe. I am delighted with the young Irish 
priest ; he sings mass, hears confessions and preaches well, but 
he cannot yet replace Father Raverdy for the affairs of the 

The railroad is finished as far as Denver, to the great joy 
of every one. My brick house is also finished and I have been 
in it for six weeks.— (To his sister, July 2, 1S70). 

Upon my return from my last pastoral visit two weeks ago, 
I found your letter awaiting me. After offering the mass for 
the safety of your community I imagined myself transported in 
sjiirit into your midst and addressing you a few words of con- 
solation and hope. Courage ! May God direct the consequences 
of this terrible war! Anarchy is hidden behind the mask of 
this republic of France where republicanism is so badly under- 
stood. I hope (hat your pious sanctuary may not be i)rofaned, 
and that Divine Providence and our good Mother may protect 
the Church of France, its clergy and its faithful people, and its 


pious communities now occupied, I am sure, in doing A^olence 
to heaven by their pi-ayers, their good works and their pen- 
ances.— (To the same, Sept. 23, 1870). 

I begin by felicitating you upon the end of this frightful 
war. But what humiliating and fearful disasters for our poor 
France! Let us hope that the precious and innocent victims 
immolated by the rage of the impious may satisfy, at least in 
part, the justice of God, and mark an end to the misfortunes of 
France and of the Church. Let us all humble oui-selves and 
pray earnestly that God may deig-n to re-establish order and 
peace.— (To the same, June 6, 1871). 

We see here an indication of the great interest 
Bishop Machebeuf still took in French atfairs. It 
is true that the whole world was watching the course 
of events in France, and Frenchmen everywhere 
were more or less anxious, but Bishop Machebeuf 's 
primitive loyalty to his native land had never been 
overshadowed by any other allegiance, and his in- 
terest was therefore very keen in the events trans- 
piring there. He loved America for its spirit of 
fairness to every man and to every religion; he ad- 
mired it for its enterprise and progress, and he ex- 
tolled its religious policy far above that of France, 
yet France was always his mother, and he never 
withdrew himself from her influences or became in- 
different to her welfare. When among the Mexi- 
cans, whom he loved as children and of whom he 
was never tired of speaking, it might seem that he 
would get farthest away from France and willingly 
assimilate a congenial atmosphere, but here it was 
that he was most thoroughly French. Here the main 
sources of his most successful work were from 
France, and his most intimate companions were his 
French brother priests, and with these only could he 


unbend from the seriousness of liis labors and busi- 
ness, and in lighter vein talk of their common liome 
and friends. With their voices his own often blend- 
ed while they sang the sacred hymns of their child- 
hood, alternated with the folk-songs of their native 
land and the Mai*sellaise, 

It was even said that he had some French preju- 
dices in the administration of his diocese. TMs 
would not be altogether unnatural, for his great de- 
pendence during the first years of his episcopacy was 
upon France, and although he often met with great 
disappointments from that source, it must be said 
that his early experiences with other nationalities, 
both among the clergy and the laity, were not of the 
kind to create any special predilection in their favor. 
Let the accusation pass now — it was generally made 
by parties with interested motives — he never medi- 
tated injustice, or acted with any but the best inten- 
tions in dealing with men of all nations. It is just 
possible that he may have heeded too strongly the 
advice of others who had deeper prejudices. 

From the time of his return from France, Bish- 
op Machebeuf had been trying to be relieved of the 
burden which the care of Utah imposed upon him. 
He wrote to the Holy Father upon the matter, to the 
Prefect of the Propaganda and to several American 
bishops of the Council, who, in turn, proposed to 
other American bishops to take upon themselves the 
res))onsibility. None wished to do so until Arch- 
bishop Alemany of San Francisco agreed to provide 
for it, and thus Utah was added to his ecclesiastical 


province in 1871. This action on the part of Arch- 
bisliop Alemany brought about a correspondence 
which gave Bishop Machebeuf an ''occasion to ad- 
mire his zeal and devotedness, " and created a last- 
ing friendship. 

The transfer of Utah brought the return of a 
priest, Father John Foley, from Salt Lake City to 
Denver, and with him as pastor, Bishop Machebeuf 
organized the mission of Georgetown, which had 
hitherto been attended only occasionally from Cen- 
tral City or Denver. This was the second parish 
outside of Denver in the northern half of the diocese 
to receive a resident priest, and Golden City fol- 
lowed next, when Father McGrath was sent there in 
the spring of 1872. A priest was sent to Pueblo in 
1871, but the Catholics were too few to support him 
and he was sent elsewhere. 

In the southern part of the diocese the parishes 
on the Conejos, the Culebra and Cucharas rivers 
were growing, and Trinidad was so flourishing that, 
in 1870, a convent and school were established by the 
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. At the end of 1871 
Bishop Machebeuf had eight priests laboring among 
the Spanish missions of the south, and five among 
the English speaking Catholics in the northern half 
of the diocese. Others had come — and gone; all 
were not to stay, but the number was not to diminish 
now that permanent stations were appointed for 
them. He had also four young men studying for the 
Colorado missions — Henry Eobinson at Cape Girar- 
deau, almost ready for ordination; Nicholas C. 


Matz at Cincinnati, one in Minnesota, and another 
at Bardstown, Kentucky. The Convent of Loretto 
had twelve Sisters. 

There were still many small settlements and min- 
ing camps outside of these missions, which were at- 
tended from Denver, and the more distant and diffi- 
cult of them were generally attende<l by Bishop 
Machebeuf himself. Towards the close of 1871 he 

Things are taking shape, but at great expense, and my 
means are so limited. I could organize two more parishes if I 
had the means and the priests. I am almost continually ab- 
sent except during Lent. The good Father Raverdy is my sec- 
retary. He is administrator in my absence, and my man of 
business to keep my books and regulate my accounts. When I 
return from one missionary trip I send him out on another. As 
soon as I can spare him he will take a trip to Europe. The 
voyage will do him good, and the consolation of seeing his 
parents whom he left twelve years ago will, I hope, have the 
effect of making him a well and strong man again. 


Growth of Denver.— Father Raverdy Vicar General. — Pro- 
posed Jesuit College.— St. Joseph's Hospital.— Coming of the 
Jesuits.— Priests in Pueblo, South Park, Boulder and Colorado 
Springs.— Father Raverdy in Europe. — Father Bourion's Prize 
Drawing. — Great Fire at Central City.— General View.— Conse- 
cration to the Sacred Heart.— Bad Times. — Loans.— Sale of 
Property. — Sisters at Pueblo. — Golden Jubilee of Archbishop 
Purcell. — Conference of St. Vincent of Paul. — Lake City. — Car- 
riage Upsets. — Smallpox Rages.— New Church at Boulder. 
Confidence in God.— Trip to St. Louis.— To Santa Fe.— To Cin- 
cinnati.— Sisters at Conejos. 

Tliat Bishop Macliebeuf was a very busy man 
during these years we may judge from the fact that 
Father Raverdy was not able to take his contem- 
plated trip to Europe until 1873. The work of the 
diocese called for both of them until the Bishop 
could get more help. Denver alone might have kept 
them and others occupied, for it had grown to be a 
city of 12,000 inhabitants in 1872, shortly after the 
arrival of the railroads. The Bishop's description 
of it may cause a smile today, but the advance was 
really great at the time (June 22, 1872), and with its 
streets lighted by gas, and a line of horse cars, Den- 
ver did surely put on the ' ' airs of a great city. ' ' 

Denver has more than doubled its population in two years. 
We were obliged to transform and enlarge our church by addi- 
tions to the front and both sides. We hope to extend it in the 
rear and give it the form of a cross at some future time when 
we have more means. The Propagation of the Faith sent me 
but a mere bagatelle in comparison with my needs. 

Improvements are going on rapidly in Denver. A rich 
Irish capitalist, whose wife is a Catholic, has built an immense 
pump, operated by steam, to furnish water to every j^art of the 


town. Its iron pipes are buried three feet under the principal 
streets, with hydrants in case of fire, and the lawns, gardens, 
and houses upon every floor are furnished with water. Our 
walks, bordered with shrubs and flowers, are sprinkled by 
means of rubber tubes which a child can handle, and the force 
of the water is such that a stream can be sent to any part of 
the yard by merely directing the nozzle. The streets are lined 
with trees, and the houses with their lawns give beauty and 
healthfulness, and suggest many other improvements, in which 
I cannot take part, for only a portion of my house is built, and 
the location for the rest if it I have sown with white clover, 
which will look nice in a short time. You see that our town is 
putting on the airs of a great city. 

I am absent from Denver a great part of the time while 
I ought to be here, especially for the preaching. Father Mc- 
Gratii is now pastor in another parish. Father Raverdy, who 
is now my Vicar General, has great difficulty in speaking, and 
another young priest whom I ordained a short time ago is j^et 
too timid. I was away all the month of May, and next week 
I must go again on a trip which wdll occupy six weeks through 
the extreme south of Colorado for first communion and confir- 
mation. Sunday at Trinidad, Monday with the Sisters of 
Charity, and so on. Yet in spite of all these wearing trips with 
their difficulties and duties, thank God I am in good health. 

In the San Luis valley, 200 miles southwest of Denver, we 
have two parishes, and another will be fomied as soon as I have 
a priest for it. A rich English company which owns 40,000 
acres of land in the valley has offered me ground for a college 
under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers, two of whom are 
already in charge of missions there. I shall meet the Superior 
there this time and make final arrangements, and when the 
college is built I shall give them charge of the entire valley, 
which is cut off from the rest of the Territory by high moun- 

"We have also a beautiful plan (on paper) of a hospital at 
Denver under the direction of the Sisters of Charity. Of the 
five railroad companies three have offered to help us, and 
Protestant and Catholic alike will assist us in putting up the first 
wing of the building. We hope to begin next fall, bi;t I cannot 
tell yet, as I have so little means and am so busy with other 
matters. Everywhere it is churches and schools to build or 
repair, new parishes to start, money to borrow, and I must see 
to it all myself. Loans into the thousands are now due, the 
expenses of my students go on, and I do not know where to 


turn for help unless some arrangements can be made for a good 
loan in France. 

Here we see some of the plans of Bishop Mach- 
ebeuf for the future, but the realization of them was 
to be the work of many years, and then — with such 
m^odifieation of detail that he might have saved him- 
self worlds of trouble if he had but the patience to 

Father Raverdy's idea of a hospital at Central 
City was abandoned when he removed to Denver, 
although plans were drawn for the building and Sis- 
ters had been invited from Leavenworth to assume 
charge of the work, but the next year Bishop Mach- 
ebeuf invited them to Denver, For them he made 
his "beautiful plan (on paper)," but when the Sis- 
ters came in 1873, the plan had to be abandoned as 
unsuitable and beyond their means, after the ex- 
pense of preparation and the laying of a part of the 
foundations. Yet the idea was carried out along 
other lines of detail, and the magnificent St. 
Joseph's Hospital of Denver is its culmination. 

The college was to be built, but not in the San 
Luis valley, although the Jesuit Fathers came and 
took charge of the parishes in that district. Conejos 
was their first parish, and this was the first parish 
established within the limits of the present Diocese 
of Denver. It was organized in 1858, with Father 
Montano as pastor, and he built the first jacal or 
picket church. His successor, Father Vigil, two 
years later, began a better church, which was finished 
by Father Michael Roily, who was pastor from 1866 
until 1871. 


On the 9th of December, 1871, Father Salvador 
Persone, S. J., and a lay brother, reached Conejos. 
Father Persone was the first of the Jesuit Fathers 
to take 11}) i>ermanent work in Colorado. Two 
months later he was joined by Father Leone, S. J., 
and another brother. They then made a visitation 
of their mission and found about 3,000 souls in 
twenty-five different placitas in a territory 120 
miles long and 25 miles wide. 

This shows what Bishop Machebeuf 's work was 
when he visited his Mexican parishes. This and the 
other parishes were so large that the presence of the 
parish priest was often necessary in other parts of 
the parish, and the Bishop had generally to make 
his visitations alone. The Jesuit Fathers had 2,500 
confessions the first year, and Bishop Machebeuf 
could have had but little less on his visits, for it was 
his custom to make everyone go to confession when 
he said mass in a settlement. 

The parish of the Seven Dolors was established 
in 1869 for the Mexican settlers on the Cucharas and 
Huerfano rivers, but between that and Denver, a 
distance of 175 miles, there was no priest until 
Father Pinto, S. J., took charge of the lower half of 
this territory in 1872, with headquarters at Pueblo. 
In 1874 the Jesuits succeeded Father Munuecom in 
the mission of Trinidad. The same year Father 
Robinson took charge of the South Park and tribu- 
tary missions, and the following year ]>riests were 
located for the first time at Colorado Springs and 
Boulder City. These arrangements covered pretty 


well the settled territory of the diocese, and placed 
the advantages of religion within easier reach of all 
the faithful. 

Few of these missions in the beginning were 
able to support a priest and provide the means to 
build a church and a shelter for their pastor. They 
were able and willing to do something in that way, 
and they generally planned and began improvements 
which they were unable to finish. In their difficul- 
ties they always turned to Bishop Machebeuf for as- 
sistance, and his diaries show that he was constantly 
helping one or another of them by donations to the 
priest or church, by loans made to them — often not 
paid back — or by signing notes which in many cases 
he had to pay. This naturally kept him in debt, and 
debt was the great cause of all his worries. The 
visit of Father Raverdy to Europe, and his prolonged 
stay of nearly the entire year 1873, were principally 
for the purpose of procuring funds, and Bishop 
Machebeuf hoped for much from his efforts. He 
says : 

I thank God a thousand times for having given me such a 
co-laborer. What a comfort he has been to me in my loneli- 
ness and troubles ! What a void in the house and in the parish, 
and how painfully I feel his absence ! But I ought to accept 
the privation — his voyage has for its end only the greater glory 
of God. I have confidence that my dear patron and faithful 
provider, St. Joseph, will dispose everything for ihe best. 

Father Raverdy succeeded in getting some addi- 
tional help from the Propagation of the Faith, and 
donations of many things for the mission churches 
from other sources, but in the great matter of a loan 
of money he got no encouragement in France, on 

,^1i^'-/^' /o^^^^^^^'"**"'^^ 


account, as he says, of the unsettled condition of the 
countr)^ and the unwillingness of cai)italists to in- 
vest in securities so far away and so little known. 

In his necessities Bishop ^fachebeuf was the 
more willing to catch at straws, and, with the best of 
faith, he allowed his name to be connected with a 
grand prize-drawing at Central City, in which the 
first prize was to be the finest hotel in the place. The 
proceeds, over the expenses, were to go towards 
building a church, school, etc. Father Bourion was 
the prime mover, and was very enthusiastic over the 
plan, but, unfortunately, the treasurer ]-)roved to be 
a rogue and decamped with the funds when the 
scheme was only well under way. No responsibility 
rested on the Bishop, and no real blame should have 
been attached to him, but he was made to suffer from 
the criticisms of many who had bought tickets. The 
worst feature for him was that plans had been made, 
and partly carried out, for the building of a church 
and school on a large scale, and thus an additional 
debt was thrown upon him. 

A new church was necessary at Central City, for 
the old one was burned in the fire which destroyed 
the greater ])ortion of the town on May 23, 1873. 
The school building was completed, but the church 
never rose above a costly basement, which was roofed 
in and served as a church for twenty years, when a 
new church was built and the old basement demol- 

Great as were the difficulties of Bishop Mache- 
beuf, he bore up under them and carried his burdens 


with the help of his friends and his own inexhausti- 
ble ingenuity in finding ways to satisfy his creditors 
for the time being. His financial trials, however, 
did not seem to abate his ardor in planning new es- 
tablishments for the advancement of religion, or in 
organizing new parishes, all of which became an ad- 
ditional drain upon his slender resources. During 
these years his work is best traced by his own hand. 
Here is his outline of it: 

I cannot give you an idea of the growth of the Church in 
Colorado that would be equal to the fact. Many times I have 
wished to write to the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, 
and I could tell them so many things that would interest the 
associates, but it was impossible. At the time of my last voy- 
age to France we had but three parishes in the south and two in 
the north. Today there are five in the north and material for 
ten in the south. While I was in France, Father Raverdy was 
for a time all alone to attend to Denver and the mountains; 
now, thanks to God, we have in Denver, besides Father Raverdy, 
two young priests who speak our three languages, and I am ex- 
pecting another. Our boarding school of Loretto has a good 
number of pupils, and we opened our College of St. Joseph last 
September under the direction of a veiy experienced French 
priest. However, it is only in its infancy and has as yet no 
great resources, but they will come in time, and our three pro- 
fessors will then be better paid. Our hospital is going up slow- 
ly but surely, and while waiting for it the Sisters occupy a 
rented house. 

At Central City the old church, residence and Sisters' house 
were burned in 1873, but a stone church is being built, and a 
three-story convent is finished upon a hill dominating the town. 
The cost was great and we must mortgage the convent as securi- 
ty for a loan we are about to make. At Denver I would com- 
plete my house— the present ''episcopal palace" is only the 
dining room, kitchen and servants' quarters— only I dread the 
additional debt. I shall be obliged to sell a beautiful piece of 
ground near the church which I have kept for fifteen years for 
a college or seminary. The city will buy it for a city hall, or a 
court house, or some public building. The Sisters of Charity at 
Trinidad are succeeding very well in a mixed American and 


Mexican population. I promised to go down to their distribu- 
tion of prizes at the end of June. 

You have no doubt learned that Santa Fe has been made an 
Archbishopric, and our IMtivince is a little AuverLnie. for the 
Archbishop, his two suffrai-ans and three-fourths of the priests 
are Auverjrnats. Another piece of news that will interest you is 
that on the Sunday after the feast of the Sacred Heart, the 
Diocese of Denver was consecrated to this Divine Heart of 
Jesus. I wrote a pastoral letter in English and Spanish to 
prepare all the missions for the ceremony of consecration. 

Immediately after the confirmation here in June I shall be- 
gin again my long pastoral visits towards the west and south. 
Last year on one of these trips I traveled over 800 miles and 
crossed thirteen counties.— (To his sister, May 14, 1875.) 

The past year has been a bad one. There were many fail- 
ures of banks and business houses, and the grasshoppers de- 
stroyed our crops. These misfortunes have brought on a stag- 
nation in business, and consequent hard times. Our poor Cath- 
olics suffer like everybody else, and many have been obliged to 
go elsewhere for work. Yet I have done something, for I have 
succeeded by loans from two New York companies in reducing 
my interest from 18 per cent to 12 and 10 per cent. An old 
parishioner of mine in New Mexico, Don Jose Perea, loaned me 
$7,000, and $3,000 more for the Sisters of Loretto. His name 
is Joseph and mine is Josejih, and we were in the month of St. 
Joseph, so it looks as if my Patron Saint had something to Jo 
with it. In the same month I won a suit in the Supreme Court 
for the title to a block of ground I am reserving for a cathedral. 
Yet God 's plans are sometimes different from ours. Our Col- 
lege of St. Joseph is closed, leaving a deficit of $500 or $600 
which I must pay. 

I have sold my block of ground to the county for a court 
house, and received $18,000 for it, but I used the amount imme- 
diately to pay some of my debts. 

When I was at Sandusky, Bishop Rappe said to me: "My 
dear sir, on Saturday and Sunday I am priest and bishop to 
confess, preach, officiate, etc.; on ^londay and the rest of the 
week I am banker, contractor, architect, mason, collector, in a 
word, a little of everything." I did not fully understand the 
remark then, but it exactly describes my position in Colorado, 
where everything must be built up from the bottom. I wonder 
I am not sick, but I have not the time. A real American has no 
time to be sick, no time to eat or sleep, no time for anything ex- 
cept the "go ahead." 


Last year I organized another parish at Boulder with an 
excellent young German priest, ordained at Baltimore. He is 
poor, but satisfied with his place. There is no house or church, 
but I gave part of the money and went security for more to 
build on ground which I had secured some time befoi'e. A new 
school has also been opened by the Sisters of Loretto at Pueblo, 
and they will buy a house with the money I borrowed from my 
old friend at Albuquerque. Three Jesuit Fathers are doing 
good work there now, and three more will be located at Trini- 
dad to take charge of all the south. 

The Golden Jubilee of Archbishop Purcell will take place 
at Cincinnati on May 21. I shall probably go, as will Arch- 
bishop Lamy also, and I shall go on to the Centennial Exposition 
at Philadelphia. In November I shall have two Jesuit Fathers 
come to Colorado to preach the Jubilee. This may seem late, 
but we have taken advantage of the year of extension accorded 
by the Holy Father. 

We have established a Conference of St. Vincent of Paul, 
and it is working well under the direction of Father Raverdy, 
who also directs the Confraternity of the Living Rosary. Our 
two Sodalities for young people, numbering sixty members, are 
in charge of an Irish joriest recently ordained at Baltimore. — 
(To the same, April 21, 1876). 

Before telling you the news of poor Colorado I want to 
thank you and Marius and all the friends for the many things 
sent me. They were safely brought to me by my young Amer- 
ican priest from St. Sulpice, and I wish also to thank you for 
the kind attentions shown him upon the occasion of his visit 
among you. 

I was very much interested in reading the little book with 
the sketches of your deceased religious, especially of the good 
Mother Fournier, who was superior when I was at the seminary. 
Every time I use the beautiful alb which she made for me I re- 
member her at the mass. I reserve it for feast days at the Sis- 
ters' chapel, where I say mass every week-day at six o'clock. 
Father Raverdy is chaplain there, at least in name, for he is so 
busy at the Cathedral that he goes there but once a week on 
the day when he hears the Sisters' confessions. The young 
priest attends the missions around Denver and along the rail- 

You ask me if I know Mr. Eugene Gaussoin, a Belgian ? In- 
deed I do, and very intimately. He was a member of the Con- 
stitutional Convention of Colorado and afterwards a senator. 


While in Denver he often came to see me and dined with us. 
Ho was highly respected by the Americans, and he rendered 
nie srreat service in the lejjislature. He lives on the Las Animas, 
or Purjratoirc, river, about a liundred miles from Trinidad and 
thirty-five miles from the villasre of Las Animas. On my last 
tri|) to the southeast I visited him, and celebrated tiie feast of 
the Immaculate Conception at the house of one of his sons whom 
I had married to an estimable Mexican lady. They have fine 
places and are heavy dealers in cattle. They will be atn'eeably 
surjjrised to learn that by the roundabout workincrs of the laws 
of marriajre we are almost relations. I shall be pleased to re- 
mit any lettei-s to them which Madame Guasco or Mr. Brosson 
may send them in my care. 

At Denver the news is both good and bad. Money is 
scarce, and I need it worse than ever to pay interest and church 
debts, and my own personal oblifi:ations for jn'ound bousrht for 
churches, schools, etc. 

I am just back from my first visit to a new town called Lake 
City. It is only two j-ears old, but it has 2,500 inhabitants. It 
is nearly 300 miles from Denver, and from the valley of the Rio 
Grande I was four days in reaching: it, crossing high mountains 
and camping out evei->' night towards the end of October. The 
roads and bridges were very bad and we were liable to accident 
at ever>' step. One day as I was returning from a visit across 
the high range where the road was really dangerous, everything 
went well owing to our great carefulness until the danger 
soemed to be past. My driver was a young man from Denver, 
Albert Gerspach, and in the buggA* with me was Father Hayes, 
a man six feet high and built in proportion. Coming down a 
little incline, not more than fifteen feet high, the bug?y ran into 
the hoi*ses. crowding them to the edge of tlie precipice and pitch- 
ing us over ui)on the rocks. I was on the lower side, and in fall- 
ing Father Hayes came down upon me. He was greatly alarmed 
and asked nie if 1 was hurt. I answered that I would tell him 
if he would get up and give me a chance to find out. Through 
the protection of the Archangel Raphael, whose mass I had said 
that morning. I escaped with only a few scratches on my nose, 
and they were well in a few days. The top of the bugiy was 
broken into a thousand pieces. It happened in the sight of a 
house of a good German with whom we were sroing to stop, and 
he saw the accident and came with others to help us out. He 
was so kind that he sent the buggy to his own blacksmith shop 
and had it repaired at his own expense — $30. Until my own 


buggy was repaired this good man took me in his wagon to visit 
all the Catholics in that section. My buggy was a new one 
given me by a good friend in Denver, but the horses I bought, 
and as usual, upon credit. 

This was not the only instance I had of the protection of 
St. Raphael, for the smallpox was raging, especially among the 
childi'en of the Mexicans, and my boy-driver and I had often to 
eat and sleep in the very room where three or four were sick, 
and it might be one or two dead, but we never had the slight- 
est symptoms of the disease. 

During this trip of three months ending just before Christ- 
mas—traveling 1,500 miles— over mountains and through valleys 
and plains — in sunshine, in rain and in snow — sometimes trans- 
fixed with cold in the conveyance — I returned home fatigued 
but in good health, and the next Sunday I was officiating and 
preaching as usual. I was even told that I had grown fat, but 
"that is to laugh," for I am as thin as ever, yet more vigorous 
than half of my young priests. Two of them in poor health left 
me the past year, one to go to Germany and the other to Califor- 
nia. But I have received five others who have come to Colorado 
for their health. The climate of Colorado is becoming known 
for its salubrity and many people are coming here for its bene- 
ficial effects. 

In 1869 I had but three priests, now I have twenty-three. 
Archbishop Lamy asked me to let him have some of those from 
the south, as Father Truchard is alone at the cathedral of Santa 
Fe, and I could not refuse him. He gave me Father Ussel, who 
is now in a fine parish in Colorado. 

I was sui-prised last week to find a neat church and resi- 
dence at Boulder, due partly to the generosity of a pious lady 
convert, who also directs the choir and plays the organ. 

Thus you see the life of a missionary, and how Providence 
protects him in all sorts of dangers. Why should we fear sick- 
ness and death? We are at the service of a Master Who dis- 
poses of us for His ^loiy. We have only to be faithful and 
obedient and He will do the rest. Help me to thank Him for 
His numberless benefits. — (To the same, Jan. 29, 1878). 

Bishop Macliebeuf generally began his letters to 
the members of his family by excusing himself for 
his long delay in writing, alleging press of business, 
innumerable calls, and almost constant travel on his 


missions. When he was at home the calls upon him 
were so numerous that he announced publicly from 
the altar that he would receive no callers in the fore- 
noon. Like many other announcements from the 
altar, this was not heard, or at least little heed was 
paid to it, and when we add the work which he mere- 
ly indicates to that which he expressly describes, we 
have a picture of a very busy life. Nor was his 
work, although for the diocese, all confined within its 
limits. He never left the diocese for mere recreation, 
and seldom for ceremony only. 

In 1874 we find him in St. Louis in the financial 
interests of the diocese, and at the same time he takes 
advantage of the occasion to refresh himself spirit- 
ually by a retreat of eight days at the noviciate of 
the Jesuits at Florissant. 

In 1875 he went to Santa Fe to take part in the 
brilliant ceremony of conferring the pallium upon 
Archbishop Lamv. We condense here a report of 
this ceremony from Father Defouri's "CathoUc 
Church in New Mexico": 

The old Cathedral was entirely too small for the occasion, 
and it was arranged to have the ceremony take place in the court 
of the Colle-e of San Miguel. The place was large and the 
surrounding porticos would give protection from the sun. 

The 16th of June was one of our spring days here-clear 
and calm. At the break of day the roar of the cannon aroused 
the faithful. Immediately the band of the College of San 
Miguel entered the garden of the Archbishop and began dis- 
coursing sweet music. At nine o'clock the Pr^^^f «i«" ;^'«f 
formed at the Cathedral-the clergy, Bishops and Archbishop, 
and religious societies followed by a vast multitude of people- 
and proceeded to the grounds of the College. 

At ten o'clock Pontifical Mass was commenced by Bishop 


Machebeuf, while before the altar stood the Archbishop, as- 
sisted by Fathers Eguillon and Gasparri. Bishop Salpoiute, 
who was delegated to confer the pallium, had an elevated seat 
on the epistle side. After the Gospel the Veiy Rev. P. Eguillon 
addressed the people in Spanish, and after the mass Bishop 
Machebeuf spoke in English. These sei-mons produced a pro- 
found impression upon the hearers, both Americans and Mexi- 

The day was spent in general rejoicing, and in the evening 
a grand illumination took place throughout the city. In front 
of the Cathedral were four beautiful transparencies represent- 
ing Pius IX, Archbishop Lamy, and Bishops Machebeuf and 
Salpointe. Speeches were made in English and Spanish, and a 
torchlight procession terminated the celebration. 

At the Golden Jubilee of Archbishop Purcell, 
in 1876, Bishop Machebeuf was the official repre- 
sentative of the Province of Santa Fe, for Arch- 
bishop Lamy did not find it convenient to attend. On 
this occasion Archbishop Purcell presented Bishop 
Machebeuf with a beautiful gilt and enameled chal- 
ice and cruets to match, as a token of lasting esteem 
and affection for his zealous little missionary of 
thirty years before. 

Bishop Machebeuf extended this trip to Balti- 
more and Philadelphia — incidentally visiting the 
Exposition, — New York, Cleveland, Marquette, Mil- 
waukee, Chicago and St. Louis, everywhere seeking 
in some way to find an opportunity of advancing the 
material or spiritual condition of his diocese. At 
Chicago he arranged for the Jesuits to come and 
give missions in Colorado, and at St. Louis he se- 
cured a colony of the Sisters of St. Joseph to take 
charge of his new academy at Central City, which 
had been vacated by a previous order of Sisters who 


were frightened away by the heavy debt, and left it 
standing, as Bishop Machebeuf said, ''very beauti- 
ful, very large, and very empty." 

Upon his return from this trip Bishop Mache- 
beuf set out again on one of his pastoral visits. At 
Trinidad he gave confirmation to 260 persons on 
Sunday, Sept. 3, 1876. The next day news was 
brought to him of the sad death that day of the Rev. 
Louis Merle, pastor of Walsenburg. Father Merle 
had set out from Walsenburg to meet Bishop Mache- 
beuf at Trinidad, but his conveyance was overturned 
on the way, and in the accident Father Merle was 
caught in the wreck and his neck was broken. He 
lived a few hours in a unconscious condition, ten- 
derly, but in vain, cared for by his traveling com- 

The Bishop and several priests went to Walsen- 
burg for the funeral, and then charging the Jesuits 
with the care of Walsenburg for the time he set out 
for Santa Fe to obtain a priest from Archbishop 
Lamy, to whom he might confide the parish so rudely 
de})rived of its pastor. In this mission Bishop 
Machebeuf was more successful than he scarcely 
dared to hope. Archbishop Lamy yielded to him 
the Rev. Gabriel Ussel, and when the history of the 
parishes of Colorado is written, Father Ussel and his 
work of over thirty years at Walsenburg will fill a 
long and edifying chapter. 

Bishop Machebeuf returned by the way of 
Conejos, continuing his pastoral work and arriving 
at Walsenburg, Saturday, Oct. 14. The following 


day he installed Father Ussel as pastor in the parish 
where thirty years later he celebrated the Golden 
Jubilee of his priesthood, and where he will live and 
be loved for many years yet if the prayers of his 
countless friends avail before God. 

In 1875, three Sisters of Loretto went from Den- 
ver to Pueblo and opened a school in a little wooden 
building which they rented. In a few months they 
moved to a small brick cottage where they took a 
few boarders, and not long afterwards they bought a 
half-block of ground upon which was a brick house 
of four small rooms. Here they moved their pupils, 
and for a time these four rooms served as living and 
study rooms during the day, and as sleeping rooms 
when beds were spread upon the floor at night and 
removed next morning. From this humble begin- 
ning the Loretto Academy of Pueblo grew into its 
magnificent proportions of to-day. 

The second branch from the Loretto Academy 
of Denver was established at Conejos under better 
conditions. A very modest house was being pre- 
pared for them there when, at the close of a very 
successful mission given in the parish by Father 
Gasparri, S. J. in April, 1876, it was suggested that 
the Sisters' house be made larger and completed as a 
memorial of the mission. A number of the various 
placitas agreed each to build a room and in a short 
time a house of ten rooms was finished. The Sodal- 
ity of Christian Mothers of the parish supplied the 
most necessary articles of furniture and put in a 
stock of provisions sufficient for a month, besides 


getting donations of calves, slieej) and chickens. The 
school was oi>ened in September, 1877, by three Sis- 
ters, one of whom, Sister Fara, died of smallpox, 
Jan. 5, 1878. Of her Bisliop ^rachcbouf says : ' ' She 
offered herself as a victim to appease the diviiie jus- 
tice and obtain a cessation of the plague." This Sis- 
ters' school has also the unique privilege of being 
the public school, and during all these years one or 
other of the Jesuit Fathers has been a member of 
the school board. President Snyder of the State 
Normal School at Greeley pays the Sisters the well- 
merited compliment of a place in his re]>oi-t, and 
adds: "The Catholic Sisters are among the first 
teachers of the land." 

When the Jesuits took charge of Conejos and 
Trinidad with their outlying missions, the priests 
formerly in charge did not care to begin again the 
labor of acquiring a new language, and Fathers 
Roily, Guyot, Percevault, Domergue and Garassu 
went to New Mexico, and Father Munnecom retired 
to Holland. The work, however, in time became too 
heavy for the small number of Jesuits available, and 
the field was divided and a portion given to Rev. J. 
H. Brinker and Rev. J. B. Pitaval. In 1888, the 
Jesuits again assumed full charge, with mission cen- 
ters at Conejos, Trinidad and Del Norte. Their 
church at Del Norte was the first church to be conse- 
crated in the Diocese of Denver. 


Rise of Leadville.— Father Robinson.— Church and Hos- 
pital.— St. Elizabeth's Church in Denver. — Sacred Heart 
Church.- Bishop Goes to Rome. — Settling Difficulties.— New 
Residence.— St. Patrick's Cuureh.— St. Joseph's.— St. Ann's. 
New Church in Pueblo.— Hospital.— Aspen Mission.— Orphan 
Asylum. — Good Shepherd's Refuge. — Sisters of Mercy. — French 
Bonds. — Colorado Catholic Loan and Trust Association.— Jesuit 
College. — Goes to the Council of Baltimore. — Consecration of 
Bishop Bourgade. — Golden Jubilee. — Franciscans. — Love for 
Mexicans.— Oioinion of Father Matz. — The Mexicans. 

The year 1878 saw the beginning of a season of 
greater prosperity for Colorado, for it was the year 
of the opening of the mines in the great camp of 
Leadville on the slope of California Gulch, The ro- 
mance of gold still lingered around the diggings 
which hail given up fortunes fifteen years before, and 
a few sanguine miners tarried on with the vague 
hope that they might find a treasure in some over- 
looked pocket of nature from which they might fill 
their own pockets. Until now it was a long and toil- 
some search for gold, and the persevering prospect- 
ors, with an eye only for gold, were forced to re- 
move at the cost of much hard labor rocks and earth 
of every formation which did not show signs of the 
coveted metal. This waste and troublesome material 
in California Gulch was of a strange character, but 
it carried no gold and was considered valueless. 
Only in 1876 did anyone think of examining scien- 
tifically this apparently waste material, and then it 
was found to be rich in lead and silver carbonates. 


Til ls77 a few more prospectors were drawn to 
tlic ili.striet by tlie report of tlie new discoveries, but 
in May 1878, when a few j^oor miners combined their 
interests and sold tlieir claims for the fabulous sum 
of $250,000, T^adville ])ecame famous, and the story 
of all new minins? caiiii)s Ix'ffan to be re-enacted ui)on 
a vast scale. The history of Leadville is, however, 
but an incident in the life of Bishop Machebeuf, and 
only as such do we touch upon it. 

Since 1874 Father Robinson had been in charge 
of the South Park missions and the upper districts 
along the Arkansas and Blue rivers. The labor was 
hard, the spiritual fruits were small and the ma- 
terial results were still less. The missionary made 
a living, — that is, he did not stai"\^e, but lie was ob- 
liged to work for every meal. 

Wlien Leadville was founded Father Robinson 
was on the ground looking out for the interests of the 
Church, and among the first buildings to go up was 
a Catholic church, and this was almost immediately 
followed by a hospital in charge of the Sisters of 
Charity, whom he introduced into that wild camp. 
Of this wonderful camp, and of other matters nearer 
home, Bishop Machebeuf, in February 1879, speaks 
thus : 

It is my fixed determination to go to Europe this year if I 
can possibly get away. Hut you cannot form an idea of the 
maimer in which new work comes up to demand my attention 
and occupy my time. Just now it is the entliusiasm, the fever, 
ami 1 might almost say. the madness of the crowds coming from 
all parts Of the United States, of every nationality, and every 
shade of religious belief, and of no belief at all except in money, 
all bound for Leadville, the new silver mining camp, which out- 


rivals, at least on paper, the richest mines of California and 
Nevada. The camp is only a few months old, but already there 
are 15,000 people there, and there will be 30,000 before next 
winter. Some of the mines are reported to be producing as high 
as $4,000 a day. 

We have a church at Leadville, but it is much too small. 
The Catholics come, but the crowd is such that one-half of the 
people strive to hear mass kneeling in the cold and snow outside 
the church in the street. I have only one priest there, one whom 
I ordained in 1872, and he is badly in need of an assistant, but 
I have none to send him. We have also established a hospital 
there with five Sisters of Charity, and they are overburdened 
with work. 

At Denver last fall we built a brick business block, 50x75. 
The lower story is rented for stores, and above we have assem- 
bly rooms for all our societies, and for a flourishing parish 
school which is now taught by the Sisters of Loretto. 

I have also a Prussian exile priest to whom I have given the 
care of the Germans in Denver, and I have api^lied to the Fran- 
ciscans for two priests to establish a house of their order and 
a parish here, and then, too, I expect two Jesuit Fathers soon to 
found a parish in Denver and later to build a college. If all 
these enterprises do not prevent me I shall go to France, and to 
Rome to make my report after ten years and offer my homages 
to Leo XIII. 

Bishop Macliebeuf's prophecy in regard to 
Leadville was fully realized, and its subsequent his- 
tory is well known. The Bishop visited it again in 
May, and he tells us of his visit in a later letter. 

His work in Denver was progressing. Father 
Wagner was Ms Prussian exile but he did not remain 
in Colorado long, and Bishop Machebeuf called the 
Rev. Frederick Bender from Colorado Springs to 
take up the work among the Germans, and soon he 
had the parish of St. Elizabeth well organized and 
the members attending mass in a neat little church of 
their own. 

Three Jesuits instead of two came that summer, 


aiul. witli Father Guida as pastor, established the 
parish of the Sacred Heart in the eastern portion 
of the city, opening a temporary c'ha})el, Sept. 12, in 
tlie parlors of their own residence recently pur- 
chased. Such were the beginnings of the second and 
third parishes in Denver, and the riches of Lead- 
ville brought such prosperity and growth to Denver 
that other }>arishes were soon necessaiy. The ad- 
vance then obtained has never been seriously 
checked, and the church has kept pace with it, and 
the end is not yet. 

Sejitember 22, 1878, Bishop Machebeuf wrote to 
his venerable sister the last of this long series of 
letters which have come into our hands, and shortly 
after, as he intended, started on his visit to Europe 
which was to occupy all of the next year. 

Very Dear Sister: 

I have just returned from a seeond trip of six weeks among; 
the hitrhest mountains that I have visited in Colorado. They are 
in the southwestern part of the state near the borders of New 
Mexico, and many new mines have been opened among: them. 
I was there at the end of April, but I could not visit all of them 
then on account of the deep snow. I then turned in another 
direction and went to the new town of Leadville, which has now 
2."), 000 inhabitants. There is but one church there, and it is en- 
tirely too small. While I was preaching: the people tilled the 
church, stood upon the platform of the altar, and even out in 
the streets, althouirh a heavy snow was falling:, and it was in the 
month of May. The priest has beg:un a large church and will 
convert the old one — only a year old! — into a school. He built 
a hospital and it was too small before it was plastered, and he 
was oblifred to make it twice as larg:e. There are seven Sistei-s 
in it, but the work is too heavy for so few, and the Superior has 
fallen seriously ill. 

At Denver I have received .several priests who have come 
to Colorado for their health. One of these is a priest with whom 
I stopped several times in Cincinnati, and in less than three 


months he has built a neat church in the western part of Denver. 
The church was opened for services yesterday. In the east end 
of the city the Jesuit Fathers are building- a church and school. 
Three parishes in Denver, a population of 39,000 and increasing 
daily ! 

In a veiy short time I shall see you, and then I can speak 
to you of the progress of our holy religion in Colorado. I am 
preparing to start during the month of November. Then, au 
revoir, and pray for your brother. 

The zeal of Bishop Machebeuf, either as a priest 
or as a bishop, never flagged. His purpose was ever 
single — to save souls and advance the interests of 
the Church, his work was always in this direction 
and his activity was unceasing. In all these things 
he was above criticism. His mistakes — and who has 
not made mistakes? — came from his very virtues. 
His heart was too big and his confidence in men and 
things was too great. His difficulties, as we have had 
ample occasion to see, were principally financial. 
His embarrassment was known to the clergy and 
hierarchy throughout the country, and they spoke 
of his liabilities without seeming to know anything 
about his assets. The rumors did not fail to reach 
Rome, and when Bishop Machebeuf arrived there 
he found a less cordial reception than he had ex- 
pected. It was a long time, also, before the Roman 
Court could understand the situation, which, at best, 
was a tangled one. 

While waiting for Rome to investigate and learn 
the facts of his case, Bishop Machebeuf retired to 
France among his own people. Wliile there, with 
the advice of friends, he evolved a plan which he 
hoped would relieve the difficulty. It was to issue 


bonds on the diocesan proi>erties and his personal 
holdings, and dispose of them upon the French mar- 
ket. Thus he hoped to raise money enough to pay 
off all his indebtedness, and later he would redeem 
these bonds with the proceeds of property sales and 
various other diocesan revenues. The plan was 
si^ecious, and the bonds were issued and placed in 
the hands of agents in Paris. 

After months of waiting Bishop Machebeuf was 
called again to Rome for further infonnation and 
explanation. Rome recognized his difficulties and 
the possible weakness which had led him into them, 
but it could not doubt his zeal and disinteresteflness. 
While waiting for a solution of the affair Bishop 
Machebeuf thought to cut the Gordian knot and sim- 
plify matters by offering his resignation. Rome, 
however, refused to listen to such a proi>osition. He 
should remain in office, and a coadjutor would be 
given to him, who would bear a part of his burdens 
and give him the benefit of wise and cool counsel. 
With this assurance Bishop Machebeuf returned to 
his diocese and took up again the reins of its gov- 

During the Bishop's absence Denver had ke])t 
up its growth, and the rest of the state was showing 
signs of an eijually rapid improvement. His friends 
at home thought that this was ample justification 
for comiileting the episcopal residence, and when he 
returned he found his old ]>lan of a house carried out 
and a new building ne^irly ready for occupancy. 
Here again the Bishop's credit was called upon, for 


cnly a small portion of the cost had been raised 
from other sources. 

The growth of Denver made another parish 
necessary and St. Patrick's was established in 1881. 
Two years later St. Joseph's and St. Ann's were or- 
ganized — the latter subsequently re-named The An- 
nunciation. Outside of Denver Bishop Machebeuf 
found the need of sending a priest to Breckenridge, 
from which place he might also attend the former 
missions of Father Robinson who found an abund- 
ance of work in Leadville where the mining excite- 
ment was still unabated. 

Pueblo also had grown, and the new parish of 
St. Patrick was organized in 1882 by the Jesuit 
Fathers. The same year the Sisters of Charity of 
Cincinnati came to Pueblo and opened a hospital for 
the sick. A new town called Aspen was also coming 
to the front, and in 1883 Bishop Machebeuf sent the 
Rev. Edward Downey to organize a congregation in 
that promising camp. 

But missionary work and church building were 
not the only things which appealed to Bishop Mache- 
beuf. His big heart was ever open to the wants of 
the needy, and he saw around him a growing num- 
ber of helpless and otherwise unfortunate beings 
for whom no provision had been made. To provide 
for the orphans he secured a suitable location in 
Denver, and under the Sisters of Charity of Leav- 
enworth the St. Vincent's Orphanage was opened 
in 1882. His next care was for the fallen, against 
whom society closed its doors and thus forced to re- 


main outcasts, and for those whose feet were at the 
head of the slippery path leading to the precipice. 
For this ])iiri>ose he visited St. Louis in 1883, and 
obtained a colony of the JSisters of tlie Good Shep- 
herd, who came to Denver, Sept. 18, 1883, and 
opened a refuge. Tlie five acres nyyon which the var- 
ious buil(lini!:s of their fine institution now stand 
were his gift, and he helped them in every way 

For the further care of the sick he sent the Sis- 
ters of Mercy among the mines of the southwestern 
part of the state in 1882, and induced the Sisters of 
the Franciscan Order to take charge of the Union 
Pacific Hospital in 1884. All these works crowded 
Bishop Machebeuf and, with his visitations of the 
diocese and other duties, made him a very busy man, 
besides rendering it impossible for us to give them 
more than a passing notice. Their present condition 
shows their magnificent development as time passed. 

Let us now return to Bishop Machebeuf 's finan- 
cial affairs. The business of his French Iwnds he 
had entrusted to men who passed as professional 
agents for bishops in need of funds, but in this case 
they i)roved to l)e but little better than professional 
thieves. The bonds found ready sale, but the agents 
failed to make correct returns, and the Bishop was 
obliged to send Father Raverdy to Paris in the be- 
ginning of 1883 to investigate and regulate the mat- 
ter. The agents refused satisfaction to Father Rav- 
erdy, and tlie matter was taken to the courts. Little 
resulted from this, Init the further issue of bonds by 


the dishonest agents was stopped, and an effort was 
made to ascertain the whereabouts of the bonds 
which had been sold. The bond plan, then, resulted 
in burdening Bishop Machebeuf with additional ob- 
ligations without the equivalent offset. 

In his aggravated situation Bishop Machebeuf 
determined upon heroic measures. He resolved to 
make an assignment of the property of the diocese to 
a corporation specially formed for that purpose, 
which would also assume all his obligations and thus 
save him from financial ruin. His debts had been 
contracted in his endeavors to assist individual 
churches and missions, and in securing property for 
diocesan purposes yet unassigned, and as nothing 
to him was considered purely personal, he judged 
that the diocese which was to benefit by all the favors 
should also accept the obligations to which these 
favors were subject. By reason of various objec- 
tions, and some strong opposition, this plan was 
modified so as to include only such properties as 
were in the Bishop's individual name and to which 
no particular church organization or other institu- 
tion could lay any claim. 

He called together the most representative 
business Catholic laymen of Denver, explained the 
situation to them and asked them to organize such a 
corporation and assist him over his difficulties. 
After due consideration each and every one of these 
men declined a task which did not seem to them ta 
promise a successful issue. 

At this juncture several priests of the diocese 


came to his relief and organized the Colorado Cath- 
olic Loan iuid Trust Association according to the 
proposed plan. Interest bearing bonds were issued 
and) sold to large and small investors, and the money 
used to i^ay the most imjwrtunate of the creditors, 
and pieces of projjerty were sold for the same pur- 
pose as fast as a fair price could be got for them. 
In this way nothing was sacrificed, and every claim 
was finally settled and every bond redeemed. It re- 
quired years to accomplish this, nor was it all done 
during the lifetime of Bishop Machebeuf, but when 
it was done there remained a considerable balance 
to the credit of the diocese. Bishop Machebeuf was 
never insolvent, but the danger was tliat some timid 
or impetuous creditor might start an action which 
would bring on a crisis, and force the sale of prop- 
erty when there was no market for it. 

From the time of the organizing of the Loan 
and Trust Association Bishop Machebeuf labored 
with a lightened heart, and the fact that he was 
practically without means did not prevent him from 
continuing his efforts on l)ehalf of his older institu- 
tions, and of undertaking new establishments. The 
rai)id growth of Colorado made many of these nec- 
essary, and Bishop Machebeuf saw an opportune- 
ness in the others. His idea of a college liad not 
died with the failure of his first and second attempts 
to realize it, and in 18ft4 lie made a third and suc- 
cessful effort. 

The Jesuits had opened a college at Las Vegas 
in New Mexico and were getting a fair portion of 


the patronage, but it was from New Mexico almost 
exclusively, and the fact was that this section could 
be cared for by the Christian Brothers of Santa Fe. 
Bishop Machebeuf saw a wider field for them, and 
the fulfilment of his own hopes, and with the con- 
sent of the Archbishop of Santa Fe, he indtuced them 
to remove their institution to Colorado. He secured 
for their first location a large and commodious 
building at Morrison, 16 miles from Denver, known 
as the Evergreen Hotel. Here the Fathers brought 
their students in 1884, much to the joy of Bishop 
Machebeuf who thus saw another of his cherished 
wishes realized. A better location was soon secured 
in Denver itself, and the magnificent new College of 
the Sacred Heart, opened in 1888, was the successor 
of the more modest institution at Morrison. 

The Thirdl Plenary Council of Baltimore called 
Bishop Machebeuf away from the diocese for a lime 
in 1884, and this trip was one of more ease, rest and 
relaxation than any of his previous journeys, for 
his heart was less pressed by anxiety and he was 
beginning to see the works and sacrifices of years 
crystalizing into the solid shapes and forms which 
his hopes had given to them during all his years of 

In 1885, he was again at Santa Fe assisting at 
the consecration of Bishop Bourgade of Arizona, 
and it can also be readily understood that in his con- 
dition of comparative freedom from the carking 
cares which had for years beset him, he enjoyed the 
occasion, which the people of Santa Fe made a repe- 


tition of the magnitit'ent t'elebratioii when ten years 
before their great Archbishop received the insignia 
of his high office. 

Bisliop ^fachebeuf dated his priestliood from 
1836, and his year of jubilee was now uj>on him. 
For forty-nine years his liand had been on the })low 
— his only cessation from labor was when sickness 
made work impossible, and his only vacations were 
his numerous trips and journeys for the benefit of 
his field. The fiftieth year was not different from 
the others, and he would have let it go by like the 
others had not his friends resolved to make at least 
one day of it memorable, even in a life as long and 
as eventful as his. 

For the convenience of visitors from a distance 
the date of the celebration was set for Dec. 16, 1886. 
Most elaborate i)reparations were made, and the 
program was fully carried out. Without giving the 
details, it consisted of a Solemn Pontifical Mass by 
the Bisho]) himself, a jubilee oration by that ]irince 
of orators. Rev. H. L. Magevney, a special address 
from the clergy by Father Matz, one from the laity 
by the Hon. E. L. Johnson, testimonials in money 
and tokens, and a ]niblic re('e]>tion which last(Hl all 
day and far into the night. The addresses were all 
that they should be, and breathed tlie spirit of grate- 
fulness and filial devotion, and a prayer that he 
might live to sit as Bishop of Denver enthroned in 
a cathedral worthy of his long labors and of the 
beautiful city over which he ruled as its spiritual 


The venerable Bishop was greatly touched, and 
in reply he referred to his labors as a priest and 
bishop, saying that it had been his constant aim to 
seek first the things that were more essentially of 
God — the care of souls, the instruction of the ignor- 
ant, the relief of the suffering, the protection of the 
orphan and the lifting up of the sinner. For this 
he had sent out priests and built churches, estab- 
lished houses of education, hospitals and asylums, 
and had seemingly neglected his cathedral. ''After 
all," he continued, ''a cathedral is a question of 
money, of stone and of mortar, while my work was, 
and should have been, a question of souls. ' ' He said 
that he would rejoice to see the grand Cathedral of 
their wishes materialized, but he dared scarcely hope 
for a consummation of their desires during his life- 
time. ' ' God knows best. Let His will be done ! ' ' 

The ordinary work of Bishop Machebeuf dur- 
ing these years was the same as we have already 
seen, but the growing number of missions made nec- 
essary greater efforts to procure priests and build 
churches, and more constant travel to visit them. 
For Denver he secured the Franciscan Fathers and 
gave them charge of St. Elizabeth's church in 1887, 
with the care of all the Germans in the city. He then 
established St. Leo's church for the English-speak- 
ing population rapidly increasing in West Denver, 
making seven churches in Denver where eight years 
before there was but one. 

In the meanwhile Eome had not given him the 
promised coadjutor, although he had sent his list 


of candidates for the office and was waiting with 
patient ex}>ectanee. He had his hopes and prefer- 
ences, for he knew tlie i)oonliar composition of his 
diocese. The Mexican }>()rti()n of it wa.s of great im- 
portance and constantly growing. A bisliop must 
understand the Mexicans and love tliem, else, he 
feared, they would suffer. Ho loved them and thoy 
loved him, and when he was among them he was their 
father and they were his little children. Tlie R<?v. 
Father Brucker, S. J. gives the following short 
paragraph on Bisliop ^facliebeuf 's love f^r the Mex- 

There can be no doubt that Bishop Machebeuf had a very 
warm spot in his heart for the ^Mexicans. The reason of tliis 
was not only because he had first worked amonc: them in New 
Mexico as vicar general of Bishop Laniy, but jiarficularly on 
account of their simple and lively Catholic faith, and, we may 
add, on account of the childlike manifestation^ of their love for 
their Bishoj). I'pon the occasions of his visitations he enjoyed 
as much as they did themselves their hearty and irenerally very 
noisy display for his reception, when he encountered from 80 to 
100 men on horseback ndins: out two or three miles to meet him, 
then nearer to the town the various church societies in proces- 
sion with banners flyinpr, and all this to the accompaniment of 
song, music and fireworks. He displayed also a wonderful pa- 
tience with all their peculiar ways. The ceremony of confirma- 
tion, for instance, was a very strange sight to American eyes — a 
hundred or more babies, all crying, and at the same time the 
Bishop trying to make himself heard, and stopping out of sheer 
exhaustion to catch his breath. 

He would never pass a night at a hotel if there was any sort 
of a passable Mexican house in the j^lace where lie could get 
accommodations. I well remember one occasion at Del Norte— 
I wished to take him to the Windsor Hotel, as we had no pas- 
toral residence in the place at that time, but the good Bishop 
exclaimed: "Ah, let me alone with your Windsor Hotel! I will 
stay over night with my old friend Don Nereo Montoya." 
Montoya was a genuine old patriarch and the best Catholic in 


the vicinity, but he was not a rich man. So we went to his 
house, where he gave us the best room he had, but as he had 
but one room to spare and only one bed in it, we divided the 
bedding and I slept at the Bishop's feet. 

His patience in hearing their confessions was something 
wonderful, and he* would sit for hours until the last one had a 
chance to go, and he had the same condescending kindness for 
the little children. 

Some months before the official appointment 
of a coadjutor was made Bishop Machebenf had 
private advices from Rome, and was very much 
pleased with the prospective outcome of the matter. 
In a heart to heart talk at his own fireside with his 
old-time friend, the venerable Father Ussel, he said : 

Yes, a coadjutor is to be given me. I am getting old, and 
there is work for two. For some time I feared that Rome 
might send me an outside man, either a German or an Irishman. 
Understand, however, that I have no prejudices against these 
nationalities — the opposite would be nearer the truth— but this 
far west— in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado— the popula- 
tion is an amalgamation of all nations, with the Mexican pre- 
dominant. The clergy is mostly European, yet we are all in 
America and in time must all be Americanized, and a very spe- 
cial man is required at the head of the Church here. An East- 
ern man would hardly suit, and Father Eguillon of Santa Fe, 
of whom you are thinking, would not do. He knows veiy little 
English, and he is too old to accommodate himself to conditions 
here where there are so many Americans and a mixed clergy. 
He is a saintly man, and his virtues would be appreciated at 
their full value, but he would not wield the influence which a 
bishoi> should have in a community so progressive as we have 
in Colorado. 

I know now who it will be. I have reliable information 
that it will be Father Matz, and I am glad to think that it is so. 
I must tell you that he was my choice from the very first. I 
judged him fit for the place, and I know of no one more worthy 
of the position. I ordained him and he has always given full 
satisfaction in both parish and school work. He is well liked 
by priests and people — a man of study, and easily the peer of 
any priest in Colorado or New Mexico. Born in Europe, but 


identified with America since his early years, he will understand 
how to deal with the French, the Italian and other European 
priests in the coninioii land of their adoption, and he has 
the advantage of knowin": Enj^lish, {""rench, German and Ital- 
ian, and sufficient Spanish to treat with the Mexicans. My 
poor Mexicans will have a father in Father Matz. With all 
their defects — or rather their simplicity — they have the ardent 
faith that removes mountains. During all my years in Colorado. 
New Mexico and Arizona I have felt so much at home amonp 
these good people, and were it in my power to select I would 
choose my place as bishop among them. The American, the 
German and the Irish Catholic is really good, hut give me the 
childlike and incomparable faith of the good Mexican. Father 
Matz has a good heart, I know him well, and I am sure he will 
show himself the friend and father of my faithful Mexicans. 

It is tme that Father Matz is young, but a young man is 
best for this young diocese, for he will have more energy to push 
forward the work for more churches, more schools, and for a 
more early realization of the new cathedral. 

We must not misunderstand Bishop Machebeuf s 
love for the Mexicans, — or rather, we must not mis- 
understand the Mexicans. These were not of the 
type built up by Ruxton, nor were they such as 
Bishop Lamy and Father Machebeuf found them 
in 1851. Neither were they such as they have almost 
invariably been represented by later tourists, whose 
information has been gleaned j)rincipally from 
hand-books of Mexico written in New England — 
nor as pictured by broken-down, one-horse preach- 
ers, whose only chance of a free support is from the 
sympathy aroused by their tales of imaginary super- 
stitions, ignorance, degradation and barbarism, — 
nor even as represented by crafty politicians for 
their own personal ends. Neither, again, should we 
judge them by the floating specimens met with in the 
slums of our border cities and towns. We would 



grieve to see the American nation judged by similar 
specimens of its citizens; let us be as fair towards 
others as we would desire that others should be to- 
wards us. The Mexicans of to-day have the benefit 
of half a century of Americanizing influences, and 
of Christianizing efforts whose effects their childlike 
confidence and reverent nature have caused them to 
drink in as the atmosphere around them. Bishop 
Machebeuf may have found them poor and compara- 
tively uneducated, but he found them charitable, lov- 
ing, sincerely religious, simple in their lives and 
without affectation. Thus he judged them, and his 
love for them did him honor. 


A Coadjutor. — Consecration of Bishop Matz. — Continned 
Work. — Death of Archbishop Lamy. — New Reliirious Orders of 
Men and WonuMi.— At Washiniiton. — Accidents. — Sudden Wan- 
\ng of Vitality. — Death. — Surprise and Ret^ret of Everyone.— 
The Funeral.— Touching Incident.— Death of Father Raverdy. 

On June 12, 1887, Bisliop Macliebeuf received 
the news from Rome that Father Matz had aotually 
been named as his coadjutor with tlie rip:lit of suc- 
cession. This news was an indication also that the 
Vicariate of Colorado was to give way to the Dio- 
cese of Denver, and that the title which he had 
borne for nineteen years as its Vicar Apostolic 
would be changed foi- the newer and more regular 
title of of Denver. By Brief of August 16, 
1887, the anniversary of his consecration, these 
changes were made, and on August 19, the Bulls 
were issued constituting the Rev. Nicholas C. Matz 
"Bisliop of Telmessa in part. inf. and Coadjutor 
with the right of succession to the Right Rev. Joseph 
P. Machebeuf, recently proclaimed Bishop of Den- 

It was the intention of Bishop-elect Matz to re- 
ceive episcopal con.«iecration from Bishop Mache- 
beuf, at whose hands he had received the priestly 
unction, but owing to the presence of Archbishop 
Salpointe of Santa Fe to take part in the ceremony. 
Bishop Machebeuf yielded to the etiquette of the 
circumstances and acted as first assistant consecra- 


tor to the Metropolitan. The office of second assist- 
ant was filled by the Mitred Abbot Frowenus Con- 
rad, 0. S. B. of Conception, Missouri. 

The appointment of a coadjutor was not the 
signal for Bishop Machebeuf to retire from active 
life. As he had said, there was work for two, and 
his share in it was as yet the responsible and more 
active half. The many railroads being built 
throughout the state made traveling easier for him, 
but he made his trips more frequent on that ac- 
count, and it was his custom to send his buggy be- 
fore him to the end of a line of railroad to enable 
him to continue his trips into the valleys beyond and 
over the mountains to the remotest parts of the dio- 

On Feb. 13, 1888, Archbishop Lamy, his life- 
long friend and more than brother, was called to re- 
ceive his eternal crown. The news of his death 
grieved and saddened Bishop Machebeuf, but he 
hastened to Santa Fe to pay his last tribute of love 
to all that was mortal of him who had been the 
sharer in his labors, in his trials, in his joys and in 
his affections for fifty years. At the funeral he 
spoke, if speaking it could be called, through tears 
and sobs, as only he could speak of the dear dead 
friend, and he uttered the unconscious prophecy 
that, as he had now seen the angel come to announce 
the term of that long life, which was even shorter 
than his own, his own call would come next, when he 
would be aggregated to the ever increasing number 







■ m^^ 


WL- ■:im!P 

^ 1 

Ri. Ri\. Nicholas C". Mai/., D. I). 


of those wlioiii God was gathering on the shores of 

If Bishop Machebeuf anticipated an early death 
he did not evince any special fear at its coming, and 
his preparation for it was like that of St. Aloysius 
of Gonzaga, for it consisted in a strict and literal 
fulfilment of the obligations imposed upon him by 
his position in the Cliurch of God. If possible his 
care of those under his charge seemed to increase 
and he visited his churches, schools, hospitals and 
asylums with greater frequency than ever. He also 
multiplied them as fast as his resources and in- 
fluence could come to the aid of circumstances. He 
called the Benedictine Fathers and the Dominicans 
and gave them locations in the diocese, and the 
Benedictine and Franciscan Sisters and placed them 
in schools and hospitals, and he increased the num- 
ber of his clergy and renewed and refreshed them 
by retreats, and by encouraging them to a strict and 
regularly ordered priestly life as far as the distract- 
ing cares and duties of missionary travel would 
pennit. He had lived such a life himself under 
every possible condition, and he asked no one to do 
what he had not already done. The details of his 
work, and the establishment of new churches, 
schools and other institutions became so numerous 
that a recital of them would become monotonous, 
and lead us beyond the scope of biography. 

Outwardly Bishop Machebeuf appeared to be 
in good health, but time was working its inevitable 
changes. In 1888 he journeyed to Washington to be 


present at the laying of the corner-stone of the 
Catholic University, and he seemed surprised to find 
liimself so worn out by the long journey and the long 
ceremonies. He was obliged to lean upon something 
for support, and to seek assistance to steady his 
steps in walking. A dizziness would come over him. 
much to his surprise, for the premonitions of old 
age were new to him and he was loth to recognize 
them. Like most of us, he thought that he could re- 
main young as long as his heart was young, and he 
never felt that growing old. 

It had been jestingly remarked that Bishop 
Machebeuf would never die in his bed. How nearly 
that came to being true we shall presently see. His 
restless activity was such that it would not permit 
him to remain in bed unless he was seriously ill. 

He had several serious attacks of illness during 
his life, and several accidents which might have 
been attended with far more serious consequences. 
In 1863 his limb was broken; in April, 1876, his 
buggy was upset upon the streets of Denver, and for 
a week he was perforce an invalid; in October, 1877, 
he was thrown upon the rocks and his buggy broken 
to pieces near Lake City; in 1886 he fell into the 
basement of his own house through a trap-door care- 
lessly left open by the hired man, and his ankle was 
so badly wrenched that he was confined to his house 
for weeks with the injured member in a plaster cast, 
and just before Easter, 1889, in turning to avoid a 
street-car while driving in Denver with Bishop Bor- 
gess of Detroit, the wheel of his buggy caught in 


the rail of the track and was broken, and he was 
thrown out with such force that he was picked up 
bruised and blee<lin^ profusely' from injuries to \m 
head and arm. 

Apparently these shocks were but temporary in 
their effects, yet they could not fail to loosen in some 
degree the compactness of his physical organiza- 
tion and weaken the power of its resistance. His 
indomitable will fortified his body, which was so ac- 
customed to finding its "rest in action" that it 
would not be strange if when death came it found 
him standing on his feet. 

We have heard of 

" The wonderful one-hoss shay. 

That was built in such a logical way 
It ran a hundred years to a day. 

And then, of a sudden 

it went to pieces all at once. 

All at once, and nothing first. 

Just as bubbles «1<> when tliey burst." 

Bishop Machebeuf had reserved for himself a 
little room at St. Vincent's Orphanage, where he 
was wont to retire for a few days when overbur- 
dened with business and overrun with visitors. Here 
he wrote his letters and found time to relieve the 
pressure of affairs, and here he enjoyed a few hours 
relaxation from all care, in watching the amuse- 
ments of innocent childhood. Returning to Denver 
from a pastoral trip on July 3, 1889, he went to his 
favorite retreat at the Orphanage, and here the 
angel of death crept close upon him unawares. A 
slight dysentery; a giving way of the system; a 


rapid waning of life, and the angel entered. Be- 
queathing all his temporalities to his successor, he 
received the last sacraments with piety and resigna- 
tion from the hands of Bishop Matz, and calmly ex- 
pired on the morning of July 10, 1889, while weep- 
ing Sisters knelt and prayed, and his Coadjutor gave 
him the final blessing of that Church which he had so 
long and so faithfully served. 

The news of Bishop Machebeuf 's death was the 
first notice that any one except those in immediate 
attendance upon him had of his illness, and it came 
as a shock paralyzing speech and thought. Men 
looked at one another dumbfounded and incredulous, 
and when the truth bore in upon them there was a 
universal expression of sorrow. No man ever lived 
in Colorado whose death caused such general regret, 
and public and private interest could have been no 
more profoundly stirred by the sudden disappear- 
ance of Pike's Peak from the range of mountains 
than it was by the unlooked-for passing of Bishop 

The body was reverently borne to the chapel of 
the Sisters of Loretto where he had been accustomed 
to saying his morning mass when at home, and there 
it rested, while Sisters and priests and people 
watched and prayed around it until the evening of 
July 15, when it was taken to his humble Cathedral 
to lie in state until the funeral the next day. 

On the morning of July 16, the Office of the 
Dead was chanted by nearly 100 priests, and the 
funeral mass was celebrated pontifically by Bishop 


Matz. Archbishop Salpointe occupied the throne 
and a number of other Bisliops were present in the 
sanctuary, while tlirongs of people filled the body of 
the church and the street outside. After the absolu- 
tions by the different prelates the funeral cortege 
formed and wended its way to the Academy of Lor- 
etto, and there, under an immense canvas awning, 
the sad procession rested while the Rev. Hugh Mag- 
evney, S. J. from an elevated platform preached the 
funeral sermon to the multitude whom no churcli in 
tlie West could hold. The audience was as varied 
and as representative as any that ever before had 
gatliered in Colorado, for business was almost en- 
tirely suspended and the business men of the city, 
as well as thousands of others, came to offer their 
tribute of respect to their dead friend, and many 
of them showed their depth of feeling by the silent 
tear which tliej'* let fall upon the bier. 

A temporary tomb was prepared beneath the 
sanctuary of the humble cliapel of Loretto, and there 
the remains were laid until they miglit find a perma- 
nent resting-place in the permanent Cathedral of the 
diocese of which he was the First Bishop. 

A touching incident occurred at the close of the 
church services and })efore the body was borne aw.iy. 
Bishop ]\rachebeuf 's faithful friend and vicar gen- 
eral. Father Raverdj^ had gone to Europe some time 
before on business connected with the diocese. Ser- 
iously ill himself from a fatal liver trouble, he 
stopped at C'liicago upon his return trip to rest for 
a few days, and there the news of Bishop Mache- 


beuf's death reached him. Hurrying forward he 
reached Denver exhausted and with barely strength 
enough to reach his bed. As the services of the fu- 
neral were finishing, his wasted form supported by 
two assistants, was seen approaching, while the 
crowd fell back to give him way. A chair was 
placed for him near the coffin, and he sat for some 
time silently gazing on the face of the dead, his own 
face wet with the falling tears. God alone knows 
what his thoughts were, but, in silence still, he rose 
and was assisted back to his bed, from which in a 
few short weeks he was called by death to join him 
with whom he had been so closely associated during 
life. Lovely and cofnely in their life, even in death 
they were not divided. (II Kings, ch. i, ver. 23.) 


Estimates of Bishop Machebeuf. — First Impressions. — 
Activity. — Earnestness. — Simplicity. — Learning. — No Politician. 
— Social Qualities. — Financial Operations.— As a Priest.— As a 
Bishoj..— His Work. -APOSTLE OF COLORADO. 

Tlie liistoiy of Bisliop Machebeuf would not Ik* 
complete without a few words of coiimient ujk)d 
him as an individual, as a priest, as a bishop, and as 
an administrator. This is, perhaps, the hardest part 
of tlie work of a ])ioo:rapher, hut twenty-four years 
of intimate accjuaintance with Bishop Machebeuf, 
and a study of his career, as set forth in the preced- 
ing pages, should give the writer sufficient grounds 
upon which to base a fair estimate of tlie man and 
his motives. His works speak for themselves. 

The first time the writer saw Father Machebeuf 
was on Sunday, June 18, 1865, while he was saying 
mass in the first little church of Denver. The special 
impression made then, and which has never been for- 
gotten, was that he was a man of a very advance<l 
age. In reality he liad not yet completed his fifty 
tliird year, but his hair was turning grey, and his 
face was as thin and wrinkled as that of a man of 
eighty. The twenty-five years of such mission 
ary life as he had lived seemed to have left him 
a weather-beaten wreck near the limit of its power 
to hold longer together. Strange as it may appear, 
that impression could never afterwards be felt, and 
even when Bishop Nfacliebeuf lay in his <'oniii the 


writer could see nothing of the worn-out, decrepit 
features of his first impression, but a strong, rugged 
face that might have braved many more years of 
storm and sunshine. 

In form Bishop Machebeuf was below medium 
height and of slight build. In spite of his lameness 
his movements were rapid, and he never remained 
long in any one place or position. He seemed to be 
all energy, activity, and business, and he was not 
more earnest in his pontifical ceremonies, or in plan- 
ning a church, than he was in directing the smallest 
altar boy, or showing his traveling companion how 
to fry a beefsteak. He was not handsome, but there 
was a kindness in his face which made you forget 
all about that, and there was an irresistible attrac- 
tion about him when you were sufficiently acquainted 
with him to engage in familiar conversation. He 
was easy to become acquainted with, but he had a 
dread of ''society" and pompous people, and felt 
more free and at home among the poor and humble, 
with a special liking for the Sisters and their pupils. 
He was very sensitive to the sufferings of others, 
and the veriest tramp did not appeal to him in vain. 
His temper was even, although he knew how to scold 
upon occasion, yet, that over, his next word would 
be as calm and pleasant as a brother's greeting, and 
no harsh or revengeful feelings ever found lodg- 
ment in his gentle breast. 

Mentally he was naturally bright, but his deli- 
cate health prevented him from making very pro- 
found studies in his youth, and his constant mission- 


ary labors left liim small ()|)]K)rtnnity for metliodical 
study in his after life, lie knew his theology well, 
was well versed in Scripture, and could preach a 
good sermon or get up a lecture on religious sub 
jeets upon very short notice. He cared little for 
science, and the iKjpular questions of the day inter 
ested him only in so far as they bore upon religion 
or his special work. He spoke and wrote English 
very well for one who had learned it so late in life, 
but he was, probably, more proficient in Spanish, 
which bore a closer analogy to his mother tongue. 
His pastorals were plain practical sermons, or sen- 
sible talks u]>on his subjects with no attempt at 
rhetoric or display. 

Bishop Machebeuf never allied liimself with 
any political party, nor had lie any use for politics 
as such. The authors of a sketcli of Bishop Mache- 
beuf, written shortly after his death, said: 

Many wlio think llioy knew Bishop Machebeuf, yet who 
merely knew him as he appeared to them in his later years, a 
simple ^rey-haired old man, small of stature, limpinp; painfully, 
no plih-ton»!:ued talker uov shifty politician, (alas, that it ever 
could be said of one of G»)d's anointed that he ever knew the 
devious ways of the politician) will never know the greatness 
of the man. 

Bishop MaclielR'uf had too imicli honor and 
honesty, and too real an appreciation of his own ex- 
alted calling ever to become a ])olitician in the or- 
dinary sense of the word, but he took an interest in 
public questions u]x>n high and moral grounds. In 
1870 he spoke from his pulpit against woman's suff- 
rage when that question was being agitated by those 


who were called "short-haired women and long- 
haired men," basing his arguments on Scripture, 
morality, and woman's best place in society, and his 
lecture was printed by request in pamphlet form. 
Again, in 1876, he appeared before the Consti- 
tutional Convention of Colorado and made an ap- 
peal for the freedom of education, but, apart from 
these occasions, he was never known to mingle in 
civic strife. 

Socially Bishop Machebeuf was very compan- 
ionable with his priests. He never kept them at a 
distance, but drew them near to him and was in 
their midst like a father, or rather, like an elder 
brother. This familiarity was not of the kind that 
breeds contempt, but sets one at ease without lessen- 
ing the feeling of respect. Occasionally some one 
might comment upon his peculiarities or imitate his 
manner, but it was always when he was out of sight 
and hearing. 

Anent his financial operations there was a di- 
versity of opinions; — some asserting that he was a 
millionaire, and others that he was poorer than a 
pauper, for his debts would outweigh his posses- 
sions. Both were wrong in this, but all were right 
in believing that he was not a skillful financier. We 
have seen all along that financial worry was the 
bane of his life, yet it was said that few men ever 
liad better opportunities for amassing a fortune. 

The causes of his failure to become wealthy 
can easily be explained if we examine them calmly 
and rationally. Some of them lay within himself 


and were therefore unavoidable; others were out- 
side and adventitious, but not less active aud ef- 

Bishop Machebeuf was no miser and did not 
love money for its own sake. He valued it only for 
what it could do, and he was not able to keep it 
when he saw a place where he thought it would be 
well employed. He was thoroughly devoted to his 
work, and willing to make any sacrifice to increase 
the influence of the Church and spread religion. He 
never spared his own person when religion was in 
question, and his goods were less to him than his 
life. Knowing by his own experience what hard- 
ship was he sympathized strongly with those in 
trouble and was disposed to aid them as far as he 
was able. He had an unbounded confidence in God, 
that He would i)rovide tlie means wlien He was the 
end proposed, and he had a firm aud lasting faith 
in the future of Colorado. Add to all of these his 
apparent inability to keep systematic accounts to 
show him his exact standing, and we have the in- 
terior and personal reasons why Bishop Machebeuf 
could never be a wealthy man. These same disposi- 
tions might also make him a spendthrift, but he had 
too much prudence to indulge in needless waste, and 
too little reckless daring to become a speculator. 

The external causes came from the times in 
which he lived, and his own peculiar circumstances. 
ITe had to build up the Church in Colorado from 
nothing, and he was not content to establish it for 
the present alone, but he looked far into the future. 


Whenever a town or settlement showed signs of be- 
ing permanent Bishop Machebeuf was on the spot 
to secure locations for churches and schools, and 
he did not wait for the people to pay for them ; this 
he did himself with his own funds when the people 
did not have the money, and he often borrowed for 
this purpose, and then again to help in the erection 
of the necessary buildings. Interest was as high 
as 5 per cent a month in the beginning, and he re- 
joiced in later years when he got money at 12 per 
cent a year. 

Many of his properties naturally turned out 
valueless when the towns did not fulfill expectations. 
The accounts of his own parish show a deficit in the 
annual revenue for current expenses, thus causing 
an ever-increasing debt to add to that created by 
the cost of the buildings. Many of the parishes, also, 
began improvements beyond their resources, and 
when hopelessly involved they would appeal to 
Bishop Machebeuf. Imprudent pastors could, and 
did, leave the parish and the diocese, but the Bishop 
was always there to ''hold the bag," and many of 
these churches never re-imbursed Bishop Mache- 
beuf for the outlay. Taxes also were enormous, 
and all combined to force him to greater loans and 
increased interest — or failure. 

He was often blamed for not selling some of his 
property, but at such times prices were low and 
he had a firm confidence that times would grow bet- 
ter and values rise. But, in fact, he seldom missed 
a chance for a good sale. Sometimes he was even 


blanie<l for selling:, t'spccially in later years when 
people remembered tliat he sohl the inafniificent 
eourt house blook for $18,000, but these |>eople for- 
ijot tliat the growtli of Denver was not in that di- 
rection at the time, nor did tliey seem to i<MneinlKT 
that tlie count}' oommissioners were bhimed for pay- 
ing: $18,000 for a piece of ground which the rigliteous 
said was not worth more than $12,000, 

Any one can look hack, but few can look for- 
ward with anything like certainty and hundreds of 
others were as enthusiastic as Bishop Machebenf 
over tlie future of Denver and Colorado, and just as 
much in the dark as to what wore the best invest- 
ments, and few of tliem came out better than he did 
in the end. If we had foreknowledge there would be 
others as wise, and it would come to the same in the 
end. Bisho]> Machebeuf was embarrassed during 
his lifetime, and his successor was embarrassed for 
some years afterwards, but in the final outcome all 
tui-ned out well, and the Church of Colorado has 
reason to thank Bishop Machebeuf for his far- 
reaching efforts and enthusiastic foresiglit. He die<l 
neither a millionaire nor a pau])er, but left euougli 
to pay all his obligations with interest, and a sur- 
plus which went to help needy cliurches and insti- 
tutions to wliicli he liiTiiscif would probably have 
applied it. 

As a priest Bishop Machebeuf might be taken 
as a model of regularity in his private life, and his 
daily mass and otTicc were by no means the limit 
of his devotions. Even on his trii)8 he carried his 


Testament, his Imitation and Ms books of spiritual 
reading and meditation, and his Rosary, which long 
ago he resolved to recite "at least once a day," was 
never forgotten. 

As a bishop — Well, some malicious one re- 
marked, that when Father Machebeuf was made 
a bishop the Church lost a good missionary without 
gaining a bishop! Surely, the first part of this re- 
mark was false, for Bishop Machebeuf never ceased 
to be the same untiring missionary as long as he 
lived, and of the groundlessness of the second part 
we can judge when we look at the work he did in the 
years of his episcopacy, and conclude, as we must, 
that the grand and imposing structure of the Cath- 
olic Church in Colorado to-day is built upon the 
foundation that he laid and strengthened with the 
labors and sacrifices of such years as none can un- 
derstand without having gone through them. He 
had his faults, and they worried those who were 
close to him. Some of us showed our impatience at 
them, and now we accept the humiliation of con- 
fessing it, but neither we, nor any one else, denied 
his virtues, which grow upon us as we recede from 
him, while the small faults are long since forgotten. 

There is an honored list of Bishops in the 
American Church, such as may be found in any new 
country but nowhere else, and those upon the list 
might not fit in other places and other times, but 
they were great men in their special positions. They 
were the pioneer Bishops of America, — men who 
kept at the front in our westward-moving civiliza- 


tion — wlio did the work of the pioneer an<l lived 
the life of the pioneer — who went into the wilder 
iiess and cleared it up to make it inliabitahle for 
those who oaine aft<M- them — who ^av^e religion a 
form and foundation, and started it successfully 
upon its forward movement. At the head of this list 
you will find a Flaget, and beneath will be the name 
of a Brute, a Rosati, n Fenwiok, a Loras, a Cretin, 
a Lamy, and others. The list is now, |>erhaps, 
closed, for the necessity has passed for such mis- 
sionaries of the old school in the United States, but 
it did not close until it had inscribed njMin it the 
name of Machebruf. 

When Father Machebeuf came to Colorado in 
1860 he was alone with Father Raverdy, without a 
single church, or roof over his head; wiien he was 
made bishop he had but three i)riests within his jur- 
isdiction; when he died the Diocese of Denver 
counted 64 priests, 102 churches and chapels, 9 
academies, 1 college, 1 orphan asylum, 1 house of 
refuge, 10 hospitals, and over 3,000 diildrcn in Cath- 
olic schools! 

This was primarily the work of one man, and 
that man was Bishoj) Machebeuf. In contemplating 
it we must concede that its author was a great prie^st, 
a great bisho]), and merited well the title by which 
posterity shall know him— THE APOSTLE OF 



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